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Important Lessons Our Kids Aren’t Taught at School

Teaching My Kids Lesson of morality and values

A decade ago, I was a happy young adult without much knowledge about what life really means or how this world is being run. I ate and drank, went out to movies and enjoyed life just like anyone else.

To me, life is good (of course, with a little bit of imperfection here and there) but there was no real need to be worried. Things were fine in my eyes, and they would continue to be. If someone tried to go against the norm or question it, I called them paranoid.

A New Perception of Life

Today, I am a mother of two. Having traveled a long distance, met with many people, read a number of books and stumbled upon few difficult life events, I gradually came to a painful realization that life is not what I have imagined all this while.

In fact, many of the things I used to believe in are mere fantasy, or something which have been drummed into my head subconsciously without solid proof. I, as a free human, do not actually have much freedom to choose what to think of, or believe in.

Instead, certain perceptions are forced into my subliminal mind, mainly by the mainstream media, ignorance of society and even the education system. In other words, there is indeed, every reason to be paranoid.

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One day I decided to conduct a ‘home learning session’ with my kids. I knew subjects like mathematics, language, science and others would be taught anyway at school. What is missing is usually the lesson of morality and values.

So I sat down on my own to plan the materials I would share with my kids. They needed to learn values like God consciousness, courage, kindness, compassion, generosity, discipline, love for animals and the environment, and many others.

Trying to gather pictures from the internet which could reflect each of these values, I found myself a bit dumbfounded. That was when I realized how simplistic things have been made to appear in our daily lives.

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The common images I found online to describe courage were people jumping down a mountain, or someone sitting on a cliff, or firemen trying to put out fire. Unfortunately, none of these was the actual concept of ‘courage’ that I had in mind, or that I wanted my child to understand.

Having seen so many discrepancies and injustices in today’s world, I could not help but think that my child needed something beyond such superficial understanding of courage. Not to undermine those who are physically brave or the firefighters who save lives, but simply to teach my child something beyond physical bravery.

In the context of courage, perhaps there is nothing more urgent than having the courage to speak up against tyranny and injustice, and the courage to tell the truth even when it goes against one’s interests.

It is good to show bravery when needed, but it is courage and ethical rectitude which is becoming very rare nowadays. How wonderful are the words of Mark Twain: ‘It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare!

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About Raudah Mohd Yunus
Raudah Mohd Yunus is a researcher, writer and social activist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her research interests include aging, elder abuse, human trafficking and refugees health. She is the editor of two books; ‘Tales of Mothers: Of courage and love’ and ‘Displaced and Forgotten: Memoirs of refugees.’