Your values determine your behavior. If you are valueless, you are likely to behave badly and or do very bad things. For some of you who attended religious schools – Christian or Moslem, or any, you are taught certain values based on the religion. Some of the values we were taught in primary include the Catholic Church social values- Respect for Life and Dignity of the Human Person; Call to Family, Community, and Participation; Rights and Responsibilities to do the right things; Preferential Option for the Poor; The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers; Solidarity; Care for God’s Creation.
I attended Munteme Primary School; a Catholic Church-run school. Every morning, each class commenced with a prayer. Once a week, all children were required to attend mass. It was mandatory. Once a year, a class led in The Way of The Cross, in rotation. And the priest chose at random children to take the readings.
Most vividly, I remember the Parish Priest was a man full of surprises. He would enter a class and ask all pupils to stand up. He would then proceed to ask questions, and the student with the right answer would resume their seats. “What is the first commandment”, he would ask. “What is the second commandment?” “What does the third commandment mean?”
He would challenge the students to do such mental work exercise, as he fondly called it once a month by randomly visiting any class. It made us prepare in advance. We attended the catechism class with anticipation and alertness. Religion provides values to guide behavior which are demonstrated through our actions and conduct.
If someone lacks the values, or principles, or a guiding post, they will act irresponsibly especially if they have a one-sided view of the laws and regulations. Without values, so many people can commit so many crimes and use the law as an excuse! Whether Christian or not, what values guide your conduct and behavior?
Do you always tell the truth?
Would you kill for money or not? If you have a value that “I would never kill another person for money or a business deal.” Such value would keep so many people alive. The problem happens when you are trained that it is ok to kill for money. That means, your value system is not good. You do not just need values. You need to have good values.
Would you fire live bullets at people randomly? If your value system is against killing, you would take an effort to disperse the crowd. To use intelligence to identify the culprits, if any, and apprehend them.
Take a few minutes. Get a piece of paper. Write the top 10 values or principles to follow to guide your behavior. You could say “follow the 10 commandments, always.” To do so, read them and understand them by heart. Then whenever faced with a situation, refer to the applicable commandment. You can then take the right decision.
If you a non-religious person, do write down specific values to guide you. For example, you could say, “if you wake up early, work 365 days, and do your best on the right things, you succeed.” Or you could say, “be compliant with the laws and regulations of the land in everything I do.” Before taking any decision, you would ask yourself, is this legal or illegal. And such a value system could save you a jail term.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved