Toward an improved society—what we can do

A Society where everyone treats everyone else with respect—with consideration and courtesy—would certainly be the kind of society we would all want to live in. There would be no crime, racial tension, ethnic strife, or even family squabbles. Can we possibly move in that direction? There are hopeful signs that we can. One of these signs in the United States and in some other countries is the rising public interest in teaching more about values to children in the schools.

Recent articles in newspapers and magazines on the subject of character education in schools have brought out the point that core values—such as honesty, respect, integrity, trust, self-discipline, commitment—are as important as high academic standards in preparing students to be responsible citizens who will contribute significantly to the betterment of society.

There has been, and continues to be, considerable debate over just how much of a role schools should have in teaching values that some argue should be taught primarily at home and in the churches. But in all I've read, over and over again one common ground of agreement persistently emerges: Children should be taught to treat others with the same kind of unprejudiced respect with which they would like to be treated. That's a good rule for children, parents, teachers, and everyone else to follow. This rule appears in its fundamental form in Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in the Bible. It has come to be known as the Golden Rule: "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matt. 7:12). To start with ourselves in showing this unprejudiced respect toward others is no insignificant beginning.

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Collective choice without passion
May 8, 1995

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