Learning and developing personal values through education
By Prasanna Perera

Many people think that education is all about book learning and passing exams. Undoubtedly this is partly true, but the "real" education comes from developing personal values and living these values.
What are personal values?

These are sacred to an individual and should not be compromised under any circumstances. Examples of personal values would be honesty, integrity, respect for elders, respect for others to name a few. Personal values can differ from individual to individual, and hence, stereotyping should be avoided.

Childhood experiences and the link to personal values
During our formative years, our parents, teachers and loved ones have a major bearing on our outlook in life. We observe the behaviour of our parents and form certain opinions and attitudes, which ultimately postulate value development. Parents have a powerful influence in inculcating the correct values in their children. Our teachers too have a great role to play in developing personal values. This is where a sound school education is important. It is not the status of the school that matters, but the ethical and behavioural standards of the school. Hence, certain less known schools develop responsible adults, through a sound, value based education system.

The impact of religion in the development of personal values
Irrespective of what religion we choose to follow, personal values are formed and reinforced through religious teachings. Tolerance, honesty, truthfulness, respect for others and elders, purity and many other values are taught. Even as adults, religion plays a vital role in our lives and in reinforcing personal values.

The contribution of sports towards the development of personal values
"Sport is a great leveler" and this is undoubtedly true. Through sports we learn certain values such as respecting the umpires verdict, being humble in victory, cheerful in defeat in order to accept it gracefully and to respect other team members. Team sports also help towards developing selflessness.

Living personal values
In our day-to-day life there are many occasions when our personal values are tested. In such situations, if we do not have the courage of our convictions to stand up and guard our values, the entire personal value building process becomes meaningless. We are increasingly living in a world, where mankind pursues monetary benefits at the expense of relationships, friendships and personal values. So the best advise would be to be guided by personal values, when facing doubtful situations in life.
So in conclusion, it should be said that the real value of education, is in moulding virtuous citizens, who are an asset to their countries, families and society. Book learning is only a means to an end and coupled with personal values, the impact is profound.

"You always act in a manner consistent with your innermost
values and convictions".
(Brian Tracy)
"What you say and do, the choices you make - specially
under stress - are an exact expression of what you truly
value, regardless of what you say". (Brian Tracy)

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