Virtues & Values Initiative:
The peaceful child, the loving family, the responsible adult, the successful school, and the non-violent society all require a foundation fashioned from the same stuff: a constant presence, a sincere focus, and a gentle emphasis on basic human values. Its presence must begin in very early childhood.
The education of a society without a healthy focus on human values is not only worthless, but even a single person operating without benefit of a guiding set of civilized principles can be downright dangerous. Manley Hall said, "a man without ethics is like a wild beast loosed upon society."
This focus on values must be sufficiently directed to isolate on everyday events and be reinforced in the schools. The length of emphasis must carry at least throughout adolescence and for as long as the child is tied to home and school. Ethicist and educator Kevin Ryan of Boston University said, "The fundamental problems of our schools is...not that we are turning out ignoramuses and illiterates, but that we are graduating moral savages."
The consensus is that the world has changed more in the last 50 years than in the 1000 years before it. The new millennium is now dawning on America, perhaps the preeminent nation in the world. Yet for the immediate journey ahead, this finest of nations has not yet identified a dependable inner compass to navigate the next 10 years, let alone the next millennium. Its characterological structure is in question. Its values are unclear. Its citizens are struggling to identify a dependable mechanism to embrace, articulate, and pass on to the next generation its most cherished and fundamental beliefs.
America's technology and infrastructure can be likened to the most sophisticated computer hardware in existence. Yet its software is presently programmed without a plan, in the absence of structure, randomly, and by anyone who cares to insert another program into the flow of this computer.
The advancement of character development within a single individual or society as a whole can only be achieved by an increasing awareness of higher human values, continuous cognizance of their applications, and ultimately, the actual operationalization or performance of values-based behaviors in everyday life. Awareness must be orchestrated so that it will lead to the right action.
Presently, America has no systematic means of providing its most precious resource, its children, with a humanly meaningful set of values to see them through life. It is no wonder that Professor Thomas Lickona of State University of New York in Cortland has said "There is a crisis in character not only among young people but in our society as a whole...we simply have failed to transmit the core value upon which our civilization rests."
The Voice Of The Fans National Sports Alliance and the Voice Of The Fans Foundation is based on a clear set of values and beliefs, and it has a plan. The values upon which Voice Of The Fans rests have been accepted for centuries by every major religion of the world.
Increased values awareness in sports can lead to improvement in all five domains of development: physical, intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual. Character is nurtured toward attainment only a step at a time as certain values are successfully lived out through these five domains. During the countless hours on the playground and on the field of sport, today's children are exposed to, and learn, a broad array of human values--or the lack of them. The real focus of education in human values is not only teaching youngsters about values but also helping kids put them into practice both on the field of sport and in the everyday world.
There are assorted values education programs around the world espousing similar objectives. Perhaps the most extensive values education program is now being taught in more than 130 countries. It is called Sathya Sai Baba Education in Human Values. A world interfaith spiritual leader from Puttaparthi, India, speaking in 1981, He said "Man is really the most valuable being on earth...the three instruments he has--mind, tongue, and hand--have to be (raised to man's) highest level...(and the) human sub-value-categories can be listed as...80 in all." He also made the point that when teaching human values and bringing them down to the everyday life or the playing field, they might also best be conceptualized under categories that many children are already familiar with--the headings of pure thoughts, pure words, and pure deeds all nicely coordinated with each other.
Voice Of The Fans will soon make available illustrations of the primary values and sub-values listed herein. It will include a discussions of specific human values that may be among the most pertinent to sports.
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