Bring back the old values

Editorial

IN the late ’70s and early ’80s, public nuisances such as making loud noises after 10pm in a neighbourhood, consumption of alcohol, drunken behaviour, urinating and carrying weapons in public were a no-no.
The fathers of the1970s and ’80s were brought up and taught by the colonial administrators on how to behave, dress and conduct themselves in public.
Christianity was the agent of change pushed through by the mainstream churches – the Catholic, Anglican, Seventh-day Adventist, United and Lutheran.
They taught and stressed the morals of good behaviour through Christian principles. They emphasised the virtues of good social behaviour.
If one looks back at photos from the ’70s and ’80s, one can see those respectable men and women who had grown up under the wings of the founding leaders, and learnt a lot from them. Sadly, these men and women were only a very small percentage of the population.
Today, many people leave their homes and villages and go straight to school. Many did not go through the same process of upbringing and the instilling of good values those past leaders experienced.
As the country went past the ’80s and ’90s and entered the digital era, the governments tried to keep up its pace with rapid developmental changes, with the new millennium just around the corner.
The Government is putting up more government schools while the church-run schools are getting fewer and under-capitalised. They are, thus, unable to teach the new generation of Papua New Guineans the same values they taught during the ’70s and ’80s. And it seems that we have left out an important component – the instilling of good and responsible behaviour.
Today, we see more school fights and brutality in public, including those meted out by the very people who should be enforcing the law – the police.
We seem to have regressed in our social development, returning to the primitive behaviour of being head-hunters, women-stealers, executioners of sorcery agents and resorting to fights over land ownership.
We ask ourselves why that change had not been continued, strengthened and extended to reach everyone, especially those who had not experienced it.
Did we push the bulk of our men and women out of their old ways of doing things to the modern system too quickly?
The country needs to seriously look at restoring the teaching of good moral conduct into the education system – from primary school to secondary school.
The best way to make this a reality is to give that responsibility back to the churches.
They know best how to go about it, as they had done to the first crop of national leaders who had brought us to where we are today.
The churches should be allowed to again become the main drivers of social change for our current generation of citizens.
Let the churches teach our children the right way to behave, dress and how to respect others. Unless those values are instilled in children, little progress will be made in our development as a nation.
Education Secretary Dr Uke Kombra this month announced that religious education will be included into the mainstream curriculum as a core subject.
This follows concerns by the Chief Secretary to Government Isaac Lupari last year on the breakdown in discipline and respect in our society which has affected everyone and which, if not addressed soon, will affect the future. The suggestion has been taken on board.
Education is such an important part of growing up and supporting that growth through strong Christian values creates confident, accomplished and well-rounded children.
Religious children will be influenced by their environment to be a good and caring citizen.
Using religious reasons to constrict children’s behaviour will enable them to learn to care for others, and they will grow up to desirable citizens who will do their best for the society.

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