Archive for the ‘Teacher’ Tag

We Are Not Born With Values

How we change what others think, feel, believe and do… We are not born with values, so how do people develop their values? There are three periods during which values are developed as we grow.  Sociologist Morris Massey has described periods during which values are developed.  Up to the age of seven, we are like sponges, absorbing everything around us and accepting much of it as true. The confusion and blind belief of this period can also lead to the early formation of disturbance and other deep troubles.  The thing here is to learn a good judgment of right and wrong, good and bad. This is a human construction which we nevertheless often assume would exist even if we were not here.

Then we form model by copying people, often our parents, but also others. More than blind acceptance of values, we try them on like a suit of clothes, to see how they feel.  We are much impressed with religion or our teachers. We all remember being particularly influenced by junior school teachers who seemed so knowledgeable.  Between 13 and 21, we are very largely influenced by our peers.  As we develop as individuals and try to get away from the prior brainwashing, we turn to people who seem more like us.  Other influences at these ages include the media, especially those parts which seem to resonate with the values of our peer groups.

It is tough to have high moral values, but some people get there.  In the pre-moral state, we have no real values; we are thus amoral. Young children are pre-moral. So also are psychopaths. Our basic nature tells us to be Machiavellian, doing whatever it takes to achieve our goals, even if it means hurting other people.  Most people have conventional values, as learned from their parents, teachers and peers. These basically say, “Here are the rules to live in reasonable harmony with other people.”  The bottom line of this state is that we will follow them just so long as we think we need to. We will break our values occasionally, and especially if our needs are threatened or we are pretty sure we can get away with breaking values with nobody else knowing about it.

When we are truly principled, we believe in our values to the point where they are an integral and subconscious part of our person. Right and wrong are absolute things beyond the person, for example as defined by a religion.  The test of a principled person is that they will stick to their values through thick and thin, and even will sacrifice themselves rather than break their principles. Many great leaders were principled, like Martin Luther King, Gandhi, etc.

If you can understand how people’s values develop, then you can guide the process. This is well understood by dictators and religious sects around the world.  Dictators regularly take over the education system and brainwash the children in their ideals. An old Jesuit saying is not that far off: ‘Give me the child and I will give you the man.’  Being principled is a very powerful method of influence. But beware: this is a one way street; it also means there are many things you cannot do.


Create a Vision

Choose a life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers… Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit crushing game shows, sticking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away in the end of it all, pushing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish brat you spawned to replace yourself, choose your future. Choose life… But why would you want to do a thing like that?

You were what you were and you are what you are. Up to the age of seven, we are like sponges, absorbing everything around us and accepting much of it as true, especially when it comes from our parents. The confusion and blind belief of this period can also lead to the early formation of trauma and other deep problems. The critical thing here is to learn a sense of right and wrong, good and bad. This is a human construction which we nevertheless often assume would exist even if we were not here; which is an indication of how deeply imprinted it has become. Between the ages of eight and thirteen, we copy people, often our parents, but also other people. Rather than blind acceptance, we are trying on things like suit of clothes, to see how they feel. We may be much impressed with religion or our teachers. You may remember being particularly influenced by junior school teachers who seemed so knowledgeable, maybe even more so than your parents. Between 13 and 21, we are very largely influenced by our peers. As we develop as individuals and look for ways to get away from the earlier programming, we naturally turn to people who seem more like us. Other influences at these ages include the media, especially those parts which seem to resonate with the values of our peer groups.

What you do is create a vision of who you want to be, and then live into that picture as if it were already true. It sounds ridiculously simple; too simple to mean anything. Please write it down and you will never forget it. Many studies have shown that if a person visualized success every day, whether it is success in school, relationships, career, sports, music, etc. it helps tremendously. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a try. The important part is to feel good about achieving success when you visualize it… That is the key.

Self-Love, Self-Worth and Self-Respect

We need to make self-love a lifestyle, not just a practice! I truly believe that the root cause of the majority of the challenges and problems that we as humans face is a lack of self-love, self-worth and self-respect. This is the true epidemic that we face at this time in our evolution. The funny thing is, though: we are all born with the natural ability to love, respect and value ourselves. It is not something we need to learn how to do as we grow up – for the most of us it is something we just need to remember. If you don’t believe me, go spend some time with a 2 year old. They will show you how easy it is to love and value ourselves.

For me, one of my greatest teachers is my niece Nisha, who is almost 3 years old now. She has no issue at all with saying "I love you" to herself in the mirror or blowing herself kisses. She doesn’t stop herself from saying or doing anything because she is worried about how others may think or react. It is not in her consciousness to worry about judgment from others… yet.

If we are all born with the natural ability to love, respect and value ourselves, how do we lose it? From the first moment that we hear the words "no", "you are wrong", or "this is the way you have to do it", we begin to question our own ability to think and feel for ourselves. We begin to give our power away to others in our lives, whether it is parents, siblings, friends, teachers – anyone who is in a role of authority or "knows better".

We are taught from a young age to put the opinions of others above our own. As we grow older, the cycle continues until we get to be a teenager. At this point, we begin to carve out our own identity and wonder who we truly are. We experiment with many forms of expressing ourselves, but, for the most part we look to other people or our accomplishments to validate what we say and do. We try to take our power back by looking to the very people that stripped it away from us in the first place. Realize that we are never going to get what we are truly looking for from anyone else but ourselves. Realize that in order to feel accepted, loved and valued, that we need to remember how to love, value, and respect ourselves – and when we do that we no longer will rely on it coming from anyone or anything.

This is what we need to be teaching our kids from the moment they are born. Instead of looking to others in our lives to validate the feelings we have inside, we need to empower them to fill their own cups up from within. We need to stop stripping them of the very essence that they need the most to thrive in this world and instead show them the greatest gift of all is the ability to love ourselves, no matter what!

Facts for God


The physicist Leo Szilard once told a friend he intended to keep a diary "to record the facts for God." "Don’t you think God knows the facts?" his friend asked. "Yes," said Szilard, "He knows the facts, but He does not know this version of the facts…Who has not had some confrontation, some choice to make, to stand up for what they feel is right, even when it means going against loved ones, family, friends, or bosses and co-workers? Here are just a few examples of the same situation that occurs in modern life. What do you do when you learn your company or boss is cheating the employees, the country, harming the earth or the citizens? What does a student do when their friend tells them about some mischievous plans they have to deface their school, or worse, to harm students at school? What do you do when a beloved relative, friend or teacher suddenly chooses a course you feel is unethical? What do you do when your friends tease or hurt someone just because they are different from you emotionally, culturally, or with regard to race or religion? What do you do when family or friends ask you to behave according to what are politically correct or culturally acceptable, yet you feel you are not being yourself? Do you stand up against the status quo or peer pressure and speak what you feel is right, or do what you feel is right whatever the consequence; even at the expense of being ostracized or worse? As a result of seeing this human side, we will have an anxiety attack. Unable to decide what to do, we become numb. So with the basic premise laid out, the underlying spiritual or ethical question becomes…How do you choose what is real? How do you determine what is important? Do ethics supersede relationships with loved ones? Do ethics prevail over peer pressure? Is war ever worth fighting when standing up for what you feel is righteous, gets others killed, hurt, or punished? Is there sin attached to your actions during war? Life doesn’t seem to be black and white, but rather many shades of gray. These are basic questions that people today are forced ask themselves from time to time.

Vedic Astrology

Image Credit: Darrell Hargett

Albert Einstein; the great physicist said, "Time is the fourth Dimension," Vedas say that "Time is the first dimension." In the beginning there was nothing. This concept of "nothing" is beyond the comprehension of ordinary human mind! It is so because before the concept of time there was absolutely nothing which is known as the "Shoonya" or ‘Zero’ or complete silence. Only the yogis who have attained "Nir Vikalpa Samadhi" state can experience this "nothing" and none else can. It is a state beyond time or "timeless state."

Vedas say that from this nothing originated vibration known as the "Pranava" or the sound ‘AUM’. From this sound there emerged five symbolic instruments of creation of universe. These were known as the Five "Tan matras". From the Tan matras came five primordial forces called Space and Time, Atmosphere, Light, Fire, Liquids, and finally the solidification of all. The mixing of these forces resulted in creation of the universes, as we know it now. It is an accepted scientific fact that even the universes are time bound. The theory of relativity; so called because all facts are related to time, speaks of speed in relation to time.

Vedas speak time as the limiting factor for all creation. Every thing is time bound. So the question came as to what is the scale of time? The Vedic seers, who are known as the Rishis, Maha Rishis, Brahma Rishis and Deva Rishis according to their knowledge of time and creation, have equated "Time" in relation to the age of Brahma the agent of creation. His age is 100 years in a special time scale. Note: Brahma is the name of the creative agent which should not be confused with "Brahman" the Timeless primordial force behind all creation.

The Rishis found that as far as the earth and the life in it are concerned the motion around the Sun is enough as a time scale for knowing the changes which would occur with the movement of the earth in relation to the Sun. They also found other celestial bodies like the Moon, Mars, Mercury; Jupiter, Venus and Saturn cast their influence on the earth. The seers also advised that every action must produce a reaction which comes back to the source of its origin in due cycle of time. The word "Karma" means action. Newton’s third law of motion is based on this concept.

The Planets were found to be the best guides as to the type of forthcoming reaction good or bad in the moving time scale. Thus was born the science of Vedic astrology, which is known as "Jyotisha" or ‘illuminator’ in Sanskrit. Vedas are knowledge taught by teacher to disciple through the medium of sound. They cannot be learnt by reading or memorizing. An ordinary example can be cited to illustrate the point. Ordinary "Yes" means I accept. "Yes? Also means what do you want? ‘Yyeess’ means I have my doubts, ‘Yus’ mean’s reluctant acceptance, Yes sir means please tell me and so on.

Astrology is a part of Veda hence it is known as Vedanga (anga means limb). We call it Vedic astrology because it is based on time schedules stipulated in Vedas according to yogic meditational observations of the planets in motion around the sun in relation to the earth and its motions.

Teaching and Obedience

Any serious educational theory must consist of two parts: a conception of the ends of life, and a science of psychological dynamics, i.e. of the laws of mental change. Two men who differ as to the ends of life cannot hope to agree about education. The educational machine, throughout Western civilization, is dominated by two ethical theories: that of Christianity, and that of nationalism. These two, when taken seriously, are incompatible, as is becoming evident in Germany. For my part, I hold that, where they differ, Christianity is preferable, but where they agree, both are mistaken. The conception which I should substitute as the purpose of education is civilization, a term which, as I mean it, has a definition which is partly individual, partly social. It consists, in the individual, of both intellectual and moral qualities: intellectually, a certain minimum of general knowledge, technical skill in one's own profession, and a habit of forming opinions on evidence; morally, of impartiality, kindliness, and a modicum of self-control. I should add a quality which is neither moral nor intellectual, but perhaps physiological: zest and joy of life. In communities, civilization demands respect for law, justice as between man and man, purposes not involving permanent injury to any section of the human race, and intelligent adaptation of means to ends. If these are to be the purpose of education, it is a question for the science of psychology to consider what can be done towards realizing them, and, in particular, what degree of freedom is likely to prove most effective.

On the question of freedom in education there are at present three main schools of thought, deriving partly from differences as to ends and partly from differences in psychological theory. There are those who say that children should be completely free, however bad they may be; there are those who say they should be completely subject to authority, however good they may be; and there are those who say they should be free, but in spite of freedom they should be always good. This last party is larger than it has any logical right to be; children, like adults, will not all be virtuous if they are all free. The belief that liberty will ensure moral perfection is a relic of Rousseauism, and would not survive a study of animals and babies. Those who hold this belief think that education should have no positive purpose, but should merely offer an environment suitable for spontaneous development. I cannot agree with this school, which seems to me too individualistic, and unduly indifferent to the importance of knowledge. We live in communities which require co-operation, and it would be utopian to expect all the necessary co-operation to result from spontaneous impulse. The existence of a large population on a limited area is only possible owing to science and technique; education must, therefore, hand on the necessary minimum of these. The educators who allow most freedom are men whose success depends upon a degree of benevolence, self-control, and trained intelligence which can hardly be generated where every impulse is left unchecked; their merits, therefore, are not likely to be perpetuated if their methods are undiluted. Education, viewed from a social standpoint, must be something more positive than a mere opportunity for growth. It must, of course, provide this, but it must also provide mental and moral equipment which children cannot acquire entirely for themselves.  The arguments in favor of a great degree of freedom in education are derived not from man's natural goodness, but from the effects of authority, both on those who suffer it and on those who exercise it. Those who are subject to authority become either submissive or rebellious, and each attitude has its drawbacks.

The submissive lose initiative, both in thought and action; moreover, the anger generated by the feeling of being thwarted tends to find an outlet in bullying those who are weaker. That is why tyrannical institutions are self-perpetuating: what a man has suffered from his father he inflicts upon his son, and the humiliations which he remembers having endured at his public school he passes on to Ònatives" when he becomes an empire-builder. Thus an unduly authoritative education turns the pupils into timid tyrants, incapable of either claiming or tolerating originality in word or deed. The effect upon the educators is even worse: they tend to become sadistic disciplinarians, glad to inspire terror, and content to inspire nothing else. As these men represent knowledge, the pupils acquire a horror of knowledge, which, among the English upper-class, is supposed to be part of human nature, but is really part of the well-grounded hatred of the authoritarian pedagogue.

Rebels, on the other hand, though they may be necessary, can hardly be just to what exists. Moreover, there are many ways of rebelling, and only small minorities of these are wise. Galileo was a rebel and was wise; believers in the flat-earth theory are equally rebels, but are foolish. There is a great danger in the tendency to suppose that opposition to authority is essentially meritorious and that unconventional opinions are bound to be correct: no useful purpose is served by smashing lamp-posts or maintaining Shakespeare to be no poet. Yet this excessive rebelliousness is often the effect that too much authority has on spirited pupils. And when rebels become educators, they sometimes encourage defiance in their pupils, for whom at the same time they are trying to produce a perfect environment, although these two aims are scarcely compatible.

What is wanted is neither submissiveness nor rebellion, but good nature, and general friendliness both to people and to new ideas. These qualities are due in part to physical causes, to which old-fashioned educators paid too little attention; but they are due still more to freedom from the feeling of baffled impotence which arises when vital impulses are thwarted. If the young are to grow into friendly adults, it is necessary, in most cases, that they should feel their environment friendly. This requires that there should be certain sympathy with the child's important desires, and not merely an attempt to use him for some abstract end such as the glory of God or the greatness of one's country. And, in teaching, every attempt should be made to cause the pupil to feel that it is worth his while to know what is being taught-at least when this is true. When the pupil co-operates willingly, he learns twice as fast and with half the fatigue. All these are valid reasons for a very great degree of freedom.

It is easy, however, to carry the argument too far. It is not desirable that children, in avoiding the vices of the slave, should acquire those of the aristocrat. Consideration for others, not only in great matters, but also in little everyday things, is an essential element in civilization, without which social life would be intolerable. I am not thinking of mere forms of politeness, such as saying "please" and "thank you": formal manners are most fully developed among barbarians, and diminish with every advance in culture. I am thinking rather of willingness to take a fair share of necessary work, to be obliging in small ways that save trouble on the balance. Sanity itself is a form of politeness and it is not desirable to give a child a sense of omnipotence, or a belief that adults exist only to minister to the pleasures of the young. And those who disapprove of the existence of the idle rich are hardly consistent if they bring up their children without any sense that work is necessary, and without the habits that make continuous application possible.

There is another consideration to which some advocates of freedom attach too little importance. In a community of children which is left without adult interference there is a tyranny of the stronger, which is likely to be far more brutal than most adult tyranny. If two children of two or three years old are left to play together, they will, after a few fights, discover which is bound to be the victor, and the other will then become a slave. Where the number of children is larger, one or two acquire complete mastery, and the others have far less liberty than they would have if the adults interfered to protect the weaker and less pugnacious. Consideration for others does not, with most children, arise spontaneously, but has to be taught, and can hardly be taught except by the exercise of authority. This is perhaps the most important argument against the abdication of the adults.

I do not think that educators have yet solved the problem of combining the desirable forms of freedom with the necessary minimum of moral training. The right solution, it must be admitted, is often made impossible by parents before the child is brought to an enlightened school; just as psychoanalysts, from their clinical experience, conclude that we are all mad, so the authorities in modern schools, from their contact with pupils whose parents have made them unmanageable, are disposed to conclude that all children are "difficult" and all parents utterly foolish. Children who have been driven wild by parental tyranny; which often takes the form of solicitous affection may require a longer or shorter period of complete liberty before they can view any adult without suspicion. But children who have been sensibly handled at home can bear to be checked in minor ways, so long as they feel that they are being helped in the ways that they themselves regard as important. Adults who like children, and are not reduced to a condition of nervous exhaustion by their company, can achieve a great deal in the way of discipline without ceasing to be regarded with friendly feelings by their pupils.

I think modern educational theorists are inclined to attach too much importance to the negative virtue of not interfering with children, and too little to the positive merit of enjoying their company. If you have the sort of liking for children that many people have for horses or dogs, they will be apt to respond to your suggestions, and to accept prohibitions, perhaps with some good-humored grumbling, but without resentment. It is no use to have the sort of liking that consists in regarding them as a field for valuable social endeavor or what amounts to the same things as an outlet for power-impulses. No child will be grateful for an interest in him that springs from the thought that he will have a vote to be secured for your party or a body to be sacrificed to king and country. The desirable sort of interest is that which consists in spontaneous pleasure in the presence of children, without any ulterior purpose. Teachers who have this quality will seldom need to interfere with children's freedom, but will be able to do so, when necessary, without causing psychological damage.

Unfortunately, it is utterly impossible for over-worked teachers to preserve an instinctive liking for children; they are bound to come to feel towards them as the proverbial confectioner's apprentice does towards macaroons. I do not think that education ought to be anyone's whole profession: it should be undertaken for at most two hours a day by people whose remaining hours are spent away from children. The society of the young is fatiguing, especially when strict discipline is avoided. Fatigue, in the end, produces irritation, which is likely to express itself somehow, whatever theories the harassed teacher may have taught himself or herself to believe. The necessary friendliness cannot be preserved by self-control alone. But where it exists, it should be unnecessary to have rules in advance as to how "naughty" children are to be treated, since impulse is likely to lead to the right decision, and almost any decision will be right if the child feels that you like him. No rules, however wise, are a substitute for affection and tact.


True Teaching

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Possibly, I am not be spiritual enough, just meeting the obligation to even know why, as Catholics, we had to accept as true in highest being who is afar human grasp.  I was juvenile when I was told not to query God‘s reality or his teachings.  If I got into a argument with a advocate who is so influenced that there is incredible ahead of his understanding, he’d always tell me to have confidence when my raison d’être fails to appreciate.

Sorry, I just can’t realize that.  I say no to give in to disagreement that stress that I give up my human familiarity and perception, and to take a jump of confidence.  Jump to what? It’s not that I don’t take risks or don’t appreciate what it means to take risks.

When there are no more alternative; or other choices are just as awful as not doing anything, then risk maybe the only choice.  However, in the case of leap of faith, there are preferences; one of which is I decided not to give my accepted wisdom.

I don’t comprehend what it means to veneration. If worshiping stress that I give up my thinking, then I don’t want to have anything to do with veneration. I refuse to give up my uniqueness.  I could be quiet incorrect about the accurate sense of worship.  But, for many years, I see people give up their uniqueness when they worship some being that escapes intellectual capacity.

In fact, that’s all we know:  what we experience, what can be knowledgeable, thinking, emotions—that is, all we know is what humans are competent of; and they can be implicit even if ‘mathematical’ or ‘logical’ way of thinking only cannot understand.  We have that human capacity to comprehend the universal human conditions.

Yet, I have great respect Jesus, Mohammed, Lao Tzu, Confucius and other great ethical teachers as their teachings on how to live and how to care for other human beings.  In fact, I came to appreciate them more deeply through the lessons I have learned from fellow human beings like my father, my teachers, sometimes from complete strangers like Emerson, Martin Luther King, and the people in the streets who enacted immense service to their fellow human beings.  From them, I learned:

To reflect on my own

To be courageous

To be responsible for one’s actions

To respect others and their opinions

To believe that others have their own conduct of thinking and articulating themselves.

To let go of your loved ones for their sakes even though it pains to do so

As I spend more time comprehending teachings of these religious figures, the more these teachings become familiar.  I soon appreciated that they were once taught to me; my father and other great human beings, in the course of their actions and words, lived by them.

They had uncovered to me that moral teachings found in religious texts were humanly attainable but, for what rationale?  To wait on the High Almighty?  The God or some ultimate being that is beyond my reach and absolutely unintelligible?  No, it was the teaching of self liberation.

Self liberation is not an act of a egotistic ego that long all for himself.  He heeds no one but himself. The egotistic has not yet untied itself from the dictate of his basic gut feelings, from gluttony.

On the converse, self emancipation is about liberation of the individual so he may free himself from the domination that so abate him that he would simply give up his self to a concept, a philosophy be it spiritual or political.

The self emancipating individual, through his words and actions, teaches the others self liberation. The self emancipated being has fine tuned his sense of distinctiveness, not egoism. With a heightened sense of distinctiveness, he identifies the significance of a community, not lawlessness or dictatorship that demands blind belief, blind loyalty.

The self emancipation is, I think, the exact instruction of the great religious figures.

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