“In our education system emphasis should be given to moral education and the inculcation of idealism, not only philosophy and traditions. The practice of morality should be the most important subject in the syllabus at all levels.”
Though we may not always agree on what is or is not “right”, there is little doubt that people of all ages can profit from an education in cardinal human values. The absence of teaching these basic, universal values has added to an overall decline in moral awareness, standards and behavior. Sadly, most schools are severely restricted in their ability to deal openly with moral issues. This tends to result in a “what’s right for me is what counts” attitude.
Certain moral guidelines are a boon to one’s life, and to the life of society. Without guidance or reflection, there is no doubt that our chances of making mistakes in life are increased. With a guideline to think of, we will still make mistakes, but there is a better chance of behavior that is for the greater welfare of all.
This simplified list has deeper significance upon closer inspection. For example, non-stealing applies to thought, word and deed. The seeds of theft are sown in the mind when envy takes root and begins to grow. Learning to recognize and deal with the seeds can prevent the plant from ever bearing fruit.
There are some basic guidelines that are followed in NHE schools to help us in our daily decision making, in classroom management, in choosing Literature, in setting policies, in solving problems, etc. These include:
- honesty/right use of words
- thinking of others
The essence of these guidelines is the spirit of benevolence, the Golden Rule that we were taught in school as children. The fundamental spirit of NHE’s philosophy is expanding our circle of love in all directions. Our moral guidelines serve to see that our behavior in the world reflects that inner spirit as much as possible.
Behind all of these guidelines is an awareness that each and every setting for a decision is not the same. Different people, places and times present unique situations, and no one rule works with all these variables. That is why we prefer to call these guidelines rather than rules.
Good manners, etiquette, respect, tolerance and other courtesies are also taught. But while saying “please” and “thank you” are important, such social norms are not so much at the center of our guidelines, but rather are a natural outgrowth of their implementation.