|In This Issue – December 2011||
Issue Number Forty-two
News and Success Stories
Children and Young Adults Participate
South Africa: Worksheet Available for Values Dialogue at Home
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It is the time of year when we are all winding down from our work activities, and if we are fortunate, we are looking forward to a break to spend time with family and friends. Although it has been a difficult year for many in these uncertain times, LVE continues to prove that it is an important component for the wellbeing of people around the world and for ourselves, as we cope in these tough economic times.
We are consciously aware what a powerful tool LVE is and we are all doing our very best to promote and spread the values message in our own environment. For this commitment and continued effort, I as the ALIVE President, would like to thank everyone most sincerely.
It was a little disappointing that the conference in Johannesburg had to be cancelled, but it is a reflection of the prevailing economic realities. It did however open the door to an exploration of different technologies that will allow us to communicate and interact in the future, without the expense of travel.
Our first WEBINAR on the 24th of November was successful in that it allowed us to have an experience of just what good quality interactive communications are possible via the internet. Esther Khavous, ALIVE Board member from Israel, bravely offered to be the first to present. Esther gave us a most enlightening PP presentation and talk about their programme ‘Volunteer Cities’ which is being successfully implemented in Israel. We thank Esther, Living Values Israel, and her partners in the project for their support with this initiative, also for their generosity in making this information freely available.
We wish you all a wonderful festive season, whatever and however you and yours celebrate. With the global COP17 climate change conference still going on in South Africa, my mission over this holiday period is to initiate more eco-friendly systems and applications in my personal and business environment.
Very best wishes to all for a values filled 2012.
“Teachers of young children are at the beginning of a wonderful life-long enterprise of nurturing the human spirit. Our actions and teachings have the potential to endure over time – long after a child leaves our care.
My whole world changed the first time a child called me ‘teacher’”, shared Anastasia Stylianou, the Focal Point for LVE in Cyprus. “That very moment I felt like I was transformed into someone who had power and magic in the eyes of young child! Consequently, with the feelings of power also came the responsibility to provide the best to every child entrusted in my care. Therefore, I became a companion and advocate for children in their learning journey.
I believe true teachers do more than fill children’s heads with numerals, shapes and letters. Do not get me wrong! These skills are also important. But, at the same time, true teachers change lives. In order to do that, we have to reach out to both, the children’s hearts and their minds.
As a result, starting in September 2010, I enriched my educational activities with an amazing journey towards living values. This journey was named “Workshops for Living Values in Education: Good Education begins from the Heart!” The workshops took place in seven pre-primary schools and almost 200 children, aged 3-6, participated in the program. This journey lasted three months and the experience was magnificent! My primary goal was to create a safe place where children were free to investigate the world around them, to discover their inner landscape of emotions and to explore human relationships. By emphasizing Peace, Respect and Love, we created workshops based on the essence of Living Values in Education: ‘Good Education begins from the Heart!’ Imagination, creativity and fun were key. We used a variety of teaching techniques such as brainstorming, dramatization, stream of consciousness, artistic expression, silent trip, role play, team work and music-movement.
Despite the vital importance a teacher has in a child’s life, parents remain the most powerful force. They were involved during the whole journey. At the beginning, parents were invited to a meeting about LVE and the workshop program. Their reaction was very positive.
The ‘Parent and Child Home Sweet Homework Sheets’ were designed to inform them about what their children were learning and invite them to participate in their children’s education. This idea was taken from ‘The Kindness Curriculum’ book written by Judith Anne Rice. By the end of the program, each child’s sheets were collected and a book named ‘The Book of My Values’ was prepared for them.
Another very effective idea, from the same book, was the use of coupons of kindness. An act of kindness, important to people, does not include actions which we might think could impress, such as giving expensive gifts. However, powerful acts of kindness which stay with us and change our lives are the simple, unsolicited, and seemingly insignificant acts of pure giving. I prepared a set of ‘Coupons of Kindness’ for each child and asked parents to use them as rewards for daily simple acts of kindness performed by their kids.
A mother shared, ‘It was the first time that my daughter let another child play with her bicycle. She was so proud of her action! I gave her the coupon which said, 'Good for sharing'.’
At the end of the program in January and June 2011, I organized seminars for the parents titled: ‘What is the meaning of being a good parent in our society – The Meaning of Living Values’ by Clinical Psychologist, Andrea Stylianou Hoplarou.
To conclude, my experience was really unique. The children’s enthusiasm, innocence, spontaneous thinking, curiosity of the unknown, and their desire to express their thoughts helped me bring life to a program with huge success.
The children thought the Living Values Workshops helped them discover and explore their own uniqueness as well as the magnitude of everyone around them. They were guided along a journey of magnificent feelings. They felt proud of themselves and learned to recognize and respond using positive behavior. They now feel free to express themselves and enjoy giving love and kindness. The children did not just offer me a beautiful journey; they offered me the opportunity to build the foundations of interpersonal relationships and communication by utilizing love and respect!
Several years ago, a Japanese artist illustrated two stories, “Lilly the Leopard” and the “Happy Sponges”, from the “Living Values Activities for Children Ages 3-7” book. The Tokyo LVE NPO now has those illustrations available as PowerPoint files. Anyone interested in receiving them for use in LVE trainings or activities is welcome to them if they promise to use them solely for non-profit, LVE/educational activities. Please contact Evelyn Sasamoto, email@example.com if you would like to have these PowerPoint files and can agree to the terms.
A limited number (3 copies only) of the children's book, The Original Forest, which includes episodes involving values related to saving the environment, will be given away to the first three people to send a request to Evelyn Sasamoto, firstname.lastname@example.org If interested, please send an e-mail message, the sooner the better, giving your name and physical mailing address so that the book can be sent to you.
A fascinating collection of statements by LVE teachers in Malaysia was submitted to our newsletter editor. We were delighted with the powerful messages of positive change in their lives and the lives of their students.
“Before LVE, I hated myself and my life. I never felt appreciated. After practicing the skills I learnt, my life is now calm and peaceful. I am happier and grateful for what I have – my family, my career and my friends. I now share this LVE knowledge when I conduct trainings. I am touched by the stories I hear. I now realize how beautiful life is! Let’s not destroy it.”
“Besides being a teacher trainer, I also work closely with the community, especially the Jiran Wanita as well as the police. At one of my training sessions, I applied the techniques I learnt from LVE and the person most impressed by my approach in introducing values, was the Bilal of the local mosque. Being a non-Muslim, I felt so inspired that this program can transgress racial and religious beliefs and can bring us to see the good in all humankind. The women in the community are asking for more values courses.”
“My father always told us children that we must all give something back to our country which has given us so much. I never knew what it was or how I was going to do it until I attended the LVE TTT program. I realized that this is what my father told me and I have volunteered myself to become an LVE trainer.”
“As the director of education for kindergartens in the State of Johor and now the State of Penang, I was pleasantly surprised by the change that was brought about by my two teacher trainers who attended the LVE training. Not only did they both win the first and third prize for the best kindergartens in Malaysia but visiting their kindergartens is truly a living example of peace and love and of a teacher who unconsciously has created it through her positive role model and skills acquired at this program.”
“I have a boy in my class who never used to communicate due to his mother tongue being Thai. That was a problem I didn’t know how to manage. After attending LVE, I started practicing positive behavior managing skills and using praise as techniques to bring about the change in him. Now he is a confident little boy who wants to learn and communicates well.”
“I used to be a very strict person who wouldn’t hesitate to mete out punishment and to instil fear in others – this was how I used to control my class and my life. After LVE, I have come to realize the loving and caring nature in myself. I like being that way. I also create the “LUVRS garland” (feeling loved, understood, valued, respected, safe) in my class to acknowledge the positive qualities of the children. Even my husband can’t believe the NEW me is here to stay!”
“It was a challenge for me as a teacher to ensure there were enough students in my tabika and to meet the necessary requirements of the department. After attending LVE and applying the tools and skills I have learned, there has been a change in the environment of my tabika – the children, parents and teachers can feel it and see it. The impact – the enrolment in my tabika has increased!” IQRA’ INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE
A lively and interactive Values Conference was held in Tenerife in May of this year titled, “Courage to Live, Courage to Educate”. They began: You can only learn to swim by jumping into the water; you can only learn about fine wine through tasting. The acquisition of values follows the same rules: values can only be acquired and developed by their practice. Practice with inner reflection, through dialogue with others and through sharing your own experiences.
Education is much more than instruction and all attendees were convinced of it. In addition to working various concepts and procedures, education involves developing values in children, helping them discover the key guides for their lives, the ones that will lead them to a happy life beyond the individual success or the professional career. This was the aim of the course in May.
It wasn’t about receiving lectures, listening to wise dissertations about the importance of values or the variety of them. On the contrary, faithful to the initial approach, it was about watching our own experience, diving in and finding which values have been and still are fundamental in our personal and professional lives. Hence the first question about the moments of courage that life has brought to us, those precious moments where we have been able to rebuild our inner world and, at the same time, build bridges between the world around us and our own understanding.
The contributions of all attendees were rich and numerous. Among them: "Always take the positive side of conflict situations”; “Bet on yourself”; “It was the moment I decided to do something I loved but had not wanted to do because of fear”; and “Cast off to get new things”. We cherish moments of courage that enable us and make us competent to create a better future for others.
We found that courage fuels our enthusiasm and passion, it is a permanent force that moves us, a permanent readiness for action. It is not about doing extraordinary things, but about working day by day, making the impossible possible. Thus, having made contact with these valuable personal experiences, it was possible to consider the challenges and opportunities, the personal, professional and social, challenges of life.
Once again, the contributions were numerous and enriching. “Achieving serenity in the classrooms”, “Do not judge people”, “Share without receiving”, “Do not be afraid of silence”, “Take advantage of the diversity in the other”, “Change the mentality, accept the differences”, “Pass on without imposing”, “Be aware of the need for inner values training”, “Shatter preconceptions, surprise, innovate, start from the students' motivation and identify ourselves with them in their wishes". These are only examples of the rich contributions of the groups.
Finally, we stressed the importance of dialogue as an essential methodology for education in values. Finding common ground in our experiences, challenges and opportunities; listening to other people, their concerns, interests and personal wealth; adding and multiplying, rather than criticizing, opposing or rejecting. In short, living a personal and collective experience that reinforces our courage and passion to educate. An experience worth repeating.
Please click here to read the full details of the conference with an article by Pedro Mª Uruñuela Nájera and Carmen Rosa Alfonso Viera. This was published on June 7, 2011 in Events (Journal 17).
On the Culture of Peace News Network website, October 31, 2011, David Adams posted the following in response to the recent withdrawal of United States funding from UNESCO.
“In my opinion, the Global Movement (a culture of peace) should continue to be led by the civil society, which has been the case for all great social movements in the past, but the involvement of UNESCO once again can provide a focal point and a source of inspiration. It is ironic that it comes at a time of budgetary retreat due to the withdrawal of funding by the United States, but movements are not institutions; they do not need budgets, but rather the consciousness and action of the people.
“One is reminded of the line so wisely placed into the preamble of the Constitution of UNESCO in 1946: ‘that a peace based exclusively upon the political and economic arrangements of governments would not be a peace which could secure the unanimous, lasting and sincere support of the peoples of the world, and that the peace must therefore be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind.’”
Culture of Peace News Network, http://cpnn-world.org/bulletin/bulletin-11-11.html
The United Nations Decade for a Culture of Peace has ended, but "the global movement for a culture of peace is just beginning." This is the conclusion of the World Report on the Culture of Peace which covered the news from 2001 to 2010. News of the global movement continues on the Culture of Peace News Network.
Hundreds of children from one of the most challenging neighborhoods in São Paulo created a gigantic values banner. The Jardim Angela Project involved thousands of children and hundreds of adults. Scenes of their “Springtime of Values” event can be seen in this link.
An interesting peace project is underway in Bremen. An artist has been working on a project transforming a tunnel in Bremen into a Peace Tunnel. This is to represent the peaceful interaction of religious groups (www.rembertitunnel.de) and will feature symbols, statements from six major world religions and different mosaic-trees from all the cultures of the world.
In addition, the artist collaborated with representatives of the major religions, initiated various panel discussions with them and created a parallel peace project in schools entitled: "Peace begins Small" addressing different age-groups of pupils in Bremen every year. The students presented their contributions at the town hall – normally in the presence of the mayor who is very supportive of this project.
This year, senior secondary school classes presented their works. In one, pupils distributed home-baked cookies with little messages for peace/values written on them (in chocolate) and illustrated this activity through photographs. A second example was a short video which pupils created from the internet, including two songs as background music (first part: fighting and destruction / second part: initiatives for peace and hope for the world). Some scenes are really touching. The video can be found on YouTube at:
ALIVE Associate, Germany
This year’s twelve-day holiday camp introduced twelve values through a variety of activities and games. On the first day, the children were introduced to peace and their normal behavior was discussed. To understand various ways peace can be observed and practiced, ‘musical chairs’ was played. The Peace Star story was read and each child was given the opportunity to become their favorite peace star. Most of them opted to become happy, joyful, smiling stars. The day ended with children being introduced to relaxation.
Each day, the children were taken through a journey of self-exploration; understanding their own good qualities and what it means to respect others. In one activity, each child was given four papers to write good qualities about their classmates and invited to paste them on the others. Each child was given the task of listing everyone’s responsibility at home. They also identified their own responsibilities at home and learned to value what others are doing.
With the values of cooperation and unity, group work and working together as a team were introduced. As a cooperative event, the children visited a ‘local market’ to gather information on local products. Through tolerance, we looked at different cultures and how to accept differences among us.
The children visited a National Museum to understand our own culture, learn about our historical heroes and how the country has gained independence. Through the values of humility and honesty, the children explored telling the truth. They dramatized incidents where they had lied and determined how they would act in the future.
The Camp ended with the children exploring their understanding of freedom. They expressed their views on paper, making an outline of themselves on which all the children wrote good qualities about one another.
Phil Clothier, a participant from our ALIVE LinkedIn discussion with the Barrett Values Centre, kindly shared the following. “In our recent national values assessment of South Africa, we produced a simple worksheet for parents and children to encourage values dialogue in the home. This is to help families talk about what is most important for individuals and the whole family and to bring that to life. The worksheet is free and you are welcome to share it in others. If anyone does translations in other languages, please let us know so that we can continue to share.” Thank you, Phil and the Barrett Values Centre.
You can download the worksheet from here. http://www.valuescentre.com/south_african_national_values_campaign/?sec=introduction_to_values&sub=values_in_your_family
For our next newsletter we are looking at how LVE works with partners. Your articles on this theme would be welcome.Please send your submissions to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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