|In This Issue – September 2016||
Issue Number Fifty-six
Warmest greetings. It’s 20 years since the launch of Living Values Education and it’s time to celebrate successes, take stock of where we are and look ahead. Our celebrations and reflections will take many forms including festivals, seminars, meetings and conferences in many countries and cultures, not only as purely Living Values Education, but with the partners with whom we have joined on this remarkable journey of awakening the inherent universal values that we hold in our hearts and the non universal values that live within many languages, cultures and stories. Learning from and with one another is a joy and invites humanity to embrace its inherent goodness for all.
You are warmly invited to create your own celebrations and, where possible, join us for the global launch of World Values Day on October 20th and for the 20th Anniversary Values Education Festival to be held in Indonesia this coming November.
This year sees the completion of superlative terms of office to the Board for Rebeca Flor from El Salvador, Aminath Ismail from the Maldives, and Miriam Fozan from the United Arab Emirates. On behalf of the Living Values family, we would like to extend to them our thanks and appreciation for their love and tireless dedication that has brought benefit to so many in their homeland and further afield.
As my own term of office comes to a close, I have been particularly touched by those who reach out to be with and understand others. Thank you. Let’s continue to reach out wherever you may be and in whatever circumstance. The short video on the homepage shows my ‘professional face’ for a TV interview; yet, a few hours later, ‘dressed down’ and sitting on the pavement of the city with warm-hearted street people and refugees, I took special notice of the passers-by and especially the children who stopped and spoke with these people and drew the adults to their attention. We all have much to learn from the innocence and non duality of the young and pure hearted.
Congratulations to you all, wherever you may be in our one world, for your continuing love and dedication to values. May the next years witness the strengthening of love, harmony, happiness, compassion, understanding and peace for humankind with the help of the very special contribution of Living Values Education … and mainly yourselves.
Raj Miles, the Co-Focal Point for LVE in Australia, has been corresponding for years with several inmates in prisons in the USA. Raj sent one of the prisoners in the California State Prison at Solana a long distance Living Values Education course that he had developed with Carol Seymour. The contents were drawn from the “Living Values Activities for Young Adults” and “LVEP Educator Training Guide” books by Diane Tillman.
Kris H. set up and facilitated a group on Living Values. Kris’ letter to Raj is below.
“We have finished the first ‘Living Values Study Group – Inside’ (meaning Incarcerated people). We completed all of the activities and evaluation questions. The Course work turned out to be upward of 20 pages of work for each of the group. Due to the distance and postage it would be too expensive to mail the documents, most inmates have no money and most make very little.
These students wrote you a short essay on each of the 12 Values to give you an idea of their feelings about the Values. The group seemed to work best with between four and eight students which promotes an intimate environment and allows ample time for stimulating dialogue.
The ‘Guidelines for an Effective Group’ are very good; I do think a separate section for incarcerated individuals would be helpful in dealing with our special environment and circumstances. The first Value is Peace. I think this works best as it says, ‘Peace is more than the absence of war’. To me, Peace is the absence of inner conflict, it is the essence of all the Values.
Both myself and the group found the stories extremely enlightening. ‘Two Birds’ stimulated a lively discussion in perspective. Interesting how people see very different points of view. I apply that to my life in the context of how I got to where I am today; I was held at gunpoint at the age of eight and threatened. The experience compounded with the divorce of my parents which contributed the development of a belief that the world is a violent place – my father cannot protect me and I have to do whatever it takes to survive. While I interpreted the experience that way, someone else might have interpreted it another. I never understood I was impacted by these events. Just like the ‘Birds”, I made impulsive decisions. Today, I understand that respect for how others see things goes a long way.
I also liked the ‘Emperor and Flower Seed’.It illuminates the power of Integrity. The companion to Respect is Humility,which is self-respect. This Value is important because hostility and aggression spring from the depths of the ego. Also being humble in taking insults with a grain of salt, knowing they are but swearwords, where meaning is only contained in the understanding one attaches to them.
Overall, facilitating this class and participating in it myself has been a wonderful experience. In the institutional setting it works best to read the material and answer questions on the white board, for instance, for the Evaluation Questions we defined Responsibility and each created a personal ‘Code of Responsibility’ to live by. This is important because in our past lives we were irresponsible. It was also important to work out how we feel when we fulfil our responsibilities.
We completed the Course in 18 weeks. Each weekly class was between 60 – 80 minutes.
Reconnecting with Values was important because Values are the yardstick of Life, they influence our goals, Values stem from our beliefs and it is by realizing our Values we can re-direct our behaviour and our life.
I believe this class will create a lot of interest. Attached are some personal experiences relative to the Values.
All the best from Vacaville, Calif and again thank you for the opportunity….
Hidalgo A, one of the inmates who participated in the Living Values Study Group that Kris organized, wrote a letter about what he learned. His thoughts about values are beautiful.
What Living Values mean to me and how I apply them in my life:
The Values are not just beliefs but what an individual considers innately worthwhile. Values help me to understand why particular things have great importance for me. These Values provide me with sustenance. The energy expended on them comes back in an increased amount and satisfies the core need. When these needs are met, the individual is energized and light of spirit. We are likely to assume others share our Values, but experience quickly proves otherwise. Awareness of my psychological needs help me identify what motivates or inspires me to achieve greater satisfaction.
Tolerance is mutual respect through mutual understanding. I personally believe that tolerance goes hand in hand with patience. Self-acceptance has helped me to develop compassion and love for other people, regardless their background. Accepting my defects and flaws of character make it easier to accept someone else’s shortcomings and to understand their feelings.
Honesty means there are no contradictions or discrepancies in thoughts, words or actions: in other words telling the truth. I used to be dishonest to cover my shame, fears, guilt, hurt and anger. I was afraid of being criticized, belittled, and being ridiculed. I hid my insecurities for many years because I didn’t know how to deal with my emotions. Today, I am attending to my own thoughts and feelings, monitoring my reactions and identifying obstacles to my emotional stability.
Humility is the opposite of pride or arrogance. The Bible mentions that the meek shall inherit the earth, it also mentions that God Loves those with a quiet spirit. Humility allows me to grow with dignity and integrity. What helps me to be humble is seeing everybody equally regardless of sex, color or nationality. Accepting the opinions or point of view of others allows me to be at Peace, even if I believe or think otherwise. Respecting different beliefs means without being sarcastic; respecting the authorities and the property of other people is also humility.
Cooperation exists when people work together toward a common goal. Communication skills are necessary to edify one another; an agreement to accomplish certain tasks, giving up selfishness and being open to new ideas gives me the opportunity to be part of new projects. Following guidelines and regulations (instructions) is part of my integrity with my community. By nature, I want to belong to something or somebody and cooperation fulfils my desires.
When there is Peace and Love inside, a feeling of hope and purpose, there is happiness. Emotional wellbeing reflects my ability to understand and deal with my feelings in a healthy way. Caring and forgiving: sense of belonging to someone greater than myself, trust and the ability to share feelings with others makes my life simple and happy. Unconditional Love for others and maintaining satisfying relationships, provides my support network stronger for the ‘rainy’ days (hard times).
When I am responsible, there is contentment of having made a contribution. For me, being accountable for the wrong choices that I have made in the past allows me to be aware of my surroundings, people, places and things, including nature and animals. The decisions I make now, and habits I develop over my lifetime will largely determine the length and quality of my life and others (society).
Simplicity is appreciating the small things in life and not making things complicated. Applying common sense and challenging my false perceptions help me to avoid my dissatisfaction. Ideas are independent entities, they are meant to be challenged, modified and refined. An active mind is essential to look at things simply without difficulty. A clear mind helps to detect problems, find solutions and direct behaviour.
Inner freedom is to be free of confusion and complications within the mind, intellect, and heart that arise from negativity. For me, that’s real freedom because being free on the inside would allow me to express my feelings with honesty. “Whatever comes out of my mouth is from the heart”; if there is hate I would harm everybody around me due to the chains that I still hold onto, based on the captive and darkness secrets. Freedom resides within the mind and heart. “Freedom is a Gift from God.”
I believe that people and relationships are the most important aspects of my life. It is easy for me to imagine how my words and actions can affect other people. I am constantly on guard to ensure that people will not be negatively affected. I have some hopefulness that if we can all learn from each other and work together we can overcome our shortcomings and attain the ideal. We are a unified whole, ever interconnected, what happens to others, happens to me.
When Love is present there is no pain.
Love is the greatest of all says the Bible.
Sincere love is unconditional.
I love God because He first loved me.
Love is a Gift, it cannot be bought, it is developed through humility, perseverance, patience, empathy, and caring for others.
“We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are”. (Anais Nin)
My spiritual wellness focuses on the positive aspects of life and I find spirituality an antidote for negative feelings such as cynicism, anger, and denial. To enjoy a spiritual wellness is to possess a set of guideline beliefs, principles, or values that give meaning and purpose to my life, especially in difficult times.
There are now three new Distance Programs based on the LVE materials. These 12-week courses help you explore one value per week and live in your values.
Home Study for families, individuals and teachers
Group Study for friends, community, employees
Facilitator Training for those far away who want to extend Living Values
“We would love to come to the Living Values Education workshop, but just can’t get there at this time, we are too far away, the cost of traveling and being away from my work makes it too difficult.”
These are all valid excuses that we have heard many times. There has to be a solution. Losing the potential of well-meaning individuals desiring to explore Living Values for themselves or extend Values into the community is not an option. How do others do it?
The concept of Distance Study came into being in Australia and New Zealand and has now been developed further beyond the original parent-child application around the dinner table, to include group study and even facilitator training.
No one would deny that workshop attendance with qualified facilitators is the optimum, yet there is no reason why this 12 week Distance Program cannot be made available at minimal or no cost to everyone who has a desire to explore their own values from a distance.
Accredited by the LVE board in 2016, interest has already been raised in Indonesia and Vietnam, who are now translating the programs into their own languages.
The purpose of Living Values Education is to bring people to the awareness of Values in their lives and to bring those Values alive in their daily life and relationships. “Living in the Value” thereby becomes the catalyst and the vehicle for change. The 12-week guided course with the 12 Values takes on the role of the workshop facilitator providing the context to contemplate each value and explore it in connection to your life.
For each Value a selection of 5 to 7 diverse activities has been selected from the “Living Values Activities for Children 8 –14” and “Living Values Activities for Young Adults” books by Diane Tillman and incorporated with evaluation questions to ensure that the participant has the opportunity to engage the Value as deeply as they choose. Supporting audio files are offered and a 97 page Journal for personal notes.
The “How to Manage a Study Group” provides guidelines to coordinate a group, community, school classroom or friends, the ‘host’ requires no prior values awareness exploring the Values activities along with the group. This aspect of the program is currently being developed in two California Correction Centres.
All course materials are simply downloaded from the international or local website in pdf format and can be printed out if desired by the participant.
For the Individual or Study Group community programs interaction with the local ALIVE Associate and Focal Point for LVE is not required, but could be offered if desired to permit monitoring of progress and providing support.
People wanting to become Facilitators have the option of engaging the Distance Facilitator Training Program in conjunction with the local ALIVE Associate or Focal Point for LVE, by providing study notes of their experience to their ALIVE Associate who monitors progress through each Value providing feedback. The standard text used during LVE Seminars, “LVEP Educator Training Guide”, applied in conjunction with the Distance Program provides the knowledge and skills required to become a facilitator.
For certification at the conclusion of the Distance Study for Facilitators and evaluation of the facilitator role, there is a requirement to attend at least one Living Values Education workshop as a co-facilitator and a TTT to ensure quality of the Living Values Education facilitation and presentation.
ALIVE Associates and Focal Points for LVE have the option to choose to request a donation or fee to cover administration costs relative to the feedback mechanism for certification.
Raj Miles and Suzanne Stallard
Focal Points for LVE in Australia
One of our new Facilitators who trialed the Facilitator Training Program in Australia, Denise Shaw shares
... "Most of my life I have spent supporting many people through their own hurdles in life, often ignoring my own. In addition to nursing and family life, I set up and ran a spiritual church/centre for over four years and continued for many years after this helping others through many healing modalities, teaching meditations and healing and doing multiple amazing journeys from art, spiritual adventures, and following everything I could to grow in knowledge. Just looking for something!
I became aware of a huge empty space within me, no journey I had taken had filled this space permanently, all just for filling an interest or short lived excitement. There was no depth to it. I attended a Living Values Education introduction session a few years ago and decided I wanted more, a closer more in-depth look than a weekend workshop would give me. So I embarked on a three month in depth look into myself doing the distance learning package as well as a few weekend workshops.
I was not expecting this would make the huge difference in my life that it has. The material forced to look at myself, all of me, my hurdles, pain, grief, fears and blocks. I soon discovered what values were the hardest for me ... anything to do with me!!
I completed the course and wanted to help others gain what I had gained and became a facilitator. This was a very valuable experience for me I found so much inside of me I had not healed and by doing so my fears lessened I grew a new understanding and compassion for myself. Something I previously only had for others. My fear of being judged was challenged; I won and chains around me were broken. My journey continues every moment.
I have a renewed vigor for helping others now. What I love about living values is you are supported to discover yourself and your potential. You are not told or taught what you should do but are supported while you unfold what is inside of you as deeply as you want to.
I am further humbled to know I am the first person world-wide to engage this program on a full time basis by distance learning. And have been told my feedback on this has been valuable to the program. I found I engaged the program deeply and emotionally on a long term continuous basis by the distance program discovering hidden happiness and desires in myself."
The ALIVE conference held on Zante in July 2014 was co-organized by the Ksenopoulios Library which decided to function as a values library throughout the 2014-2015 school year. This initiative was taken by the friends of the library. The idea was to feature the values explored in LVE in the monthly programmes of the library.
These programs lasted one year. As a library programme, it was based on the love for reading. They approached values through oral speech, books and literature along with various artifacts and constructions. The teachers who presented the eleven values during the 2015-2016 school year were Xanthie Chouliara, Alexandra Katsaitou, Anna Klavdianou, Dionysia Patra, Athanasia Glezaki and Dimitra Konstantinou.
Values at School
The programme "Values at School" was carried out in the first kindergarten of Zante during the 2014-2015 school year in the framework of an e-twinning programme. The goals were for the children to become familiar with the values explored in the LVE programme by raising their awareness of them and by putting them into practice, and to thus experience the positive impact of values inside and outside school. The duration of the programme was seven months and cooperation occurred among schools in Italy and the Greek islands of Skyros, Rhodes and Zante.
We helped students explore and develop values during the school subjects of language, creative expression, environmental studies, physical education, mathematics and technology. The exchange of material was carried out by means of the European electronic form of e-twinning. Our educational approach: Teamwork.
Article submitted by Alexandra KatsaitouTeacher on the island of Zante
In the history of B.É.K.E., the acronym for the LVE Association in Hungary, the 5th of September 2011, is a remarkable date. Our “Thought Creator Club” was established then in the town of Komló, in the southwestern part of Hungary. Before the establishment of this club we had already organized several types of introductory values workshops through the B.É.K.E. Association at schools, kindergartens and student hostels.
Mrs Edit Siroki, one of founders and workshop facilitators of the club, shared: “Measured on the human scale, our initiative is in its infancy. Yet if we look at our past five years, we can see something else. My friends, Ibolya, Andrea, and I guessed that introducing our values-based way of thinking about love, humility and respect, etc. to the inhabitants of the town was not absurdity. So we decided that we would like to share with others our vision playfully, during conversations that are coloured with music, quotations, etc.
We advertised in the local newspaper and prepared for the first workshop with a lot of suspense. Many people came from different generations. After outlining our intentions for the future, together we created club rules and asked people their reasons for coming. Since then we meet our “club members” every two weeks.
In the past five years, many people have come to meet with us. Some of them are the co-founders who joined with us from the first moment. Others at the beginning of the story found homes somewhere else. As they said, we gave them the initial push into a values process. Our group is usually a minimum of 10 to 12 people. We often talk about serious topics, but the atmosphere is always cheerful. We usually suggest a topic, but we are also ready to talk about any emerging theme or concern.
We have also organized talent oriented workshops, such as featuring a children's storybook writer, an author, and a master basket maker. They showed us how their qualities connected to certain values. In the summer we regularly organized excursions, not just for the fun and long walks, but for the meaningful togetherness we experienced as we focused on values. Sometimes we had guests from the parents club of the kindergarten, and the children themselves.
The Thought Creator Club is a club of possibilities! Together with our members we have changed a lot. Our experiences are of life, happiness and our inner qualities. Sometimes change is hard work and consumes a lot of energy. Our values work has made us stronger and yet quieter. Some have changed their vision of certain values. In the last five years we have talked of many, many topics, such as faith, family, relationships, behavior etc. And we haven’t finished it yet. By popular demand, we shall not stop!
In June 2016, we celebrated this 5th anniversary with a special meeting. The pictures illustrate the diversity of our club. During this celebration we prepared a small video. You can watch it in Hungarian on Youtube.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNe4oChUXCo
“It was an exhilarating experience,” wrote Uma Sridhar, the Focal Point for LVE in India, of her experience doing a one-day LVE workshop in Jaipur, Rajasthan with American students on September 2. “We had a wonderful values exploration session. One often feels despondent after reading and hearing only negative news, but after meeting these youngsters I felt there is yet hope for the world! They were beautiful, sensitive and kind with a passion to serve! I loved them.” The students were doing one semester in India at the School for International Training.
“We started a Parents' Practice Group in a small Swiss village. Some parents there had previously attended evening meetings to learn about the Living Values approach to education and creating harmonious relationships within the family,” wrote Frances Burkhalter-Carroll, the past President of Switzerland’s LVE Association. “They were enthusiastic to hear that solutions exist and then to experience them. Solutions that promote mutual listening and encourage each person to value, love and respect both himself and other family members.
They felt so encouraged by the non-judgmental approach of our meetings that they were eager to continue their experience by creating a Practice Group. Our first get-together was centered on dealing with sibling conflict. They were happy to talk about their problems and receive encouragement by exchanging their best practices. In the weeks that followed they were able to put some of the ideas into practice.
For our second meeting, the participants wished to address the issue of children and internet. A vast subject! We talked about how to protect our youngsters from the pitfalls of modern technologies, how to raise their awareness of the dangers and to avoid them. Excellent information pamphlets published by Swiss authorities, freely available at local police stations and various online documents were brought to the parents' attention for the practical, nitty-gritty side of things. It is useful information to have at one's fingertips. With the Living Values Education vision of L - V - R - U - S (the youngster feels loved, valued, respected, understood and safe) always in mind and spirit, the parents are well equipped to face the challenges of our cyber society. And their children are less at risk of being destabilized by cyber-bullying, pernicious advertising and vicious predators.
These get-togethers are greatly appreciated by our participants as forums to share their worries and doubts, to ‘bat ideas around’, exchange encouragement and deepen their own commitments to principles they value and wish to pass on to their children. They feel ‘all fired up’ to continue their mission of conscious, committed, courageous parenting.”
Participants loved Living Values Education and the facilitators of the LVE weekend retreat this last July in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Ed Wondoloski, Natasha Panzer and Stephanie Keer facilitated the retreat. Appreciation to Ed, Natasha and Stef — and the involved, caring educators and parents who participated so readily. Please keep in touch and share your stories of young people living their values.
Some of the comments from participants:
“Content was fabulous. Facilitation and delivery amazing!”
“The whole-listic embracing nature of it all which has been caring, supportive, transformative.”
“The values lessons, the amazing community, the deep quiet place.”
“The conversation regarding mind mapping and values. This really pushed me, and my values cards were extremely relevant to my current life context.”
“Real life skills. Reminders to live a values-based life and bring it to the classroom.”
“All — the workshop was wonderful.”
“Relevance and validation of teacher feelings.”
“The wonderful and welcoming atmosphere. The facilitators were wonderful.”
On the West Coast, the LVE team had a Living Values Education Tent at the Peace in the Park event in San Francisco at Golden Gate Park. Annie Jorgensen and Deborah Burnham offered puppet shows to children, and the opportunity for families to draw and discuss the ingredients they thought would serve up a World Peace Cake. Joni Roberts created a sandwich board to advertise show times!
Living Values Café 2016
This year on 17 April and 22 May the Living Values Cafe’s themes were responsibility, love, and unity. Led by two facilitators, Han Thi Thu Van and Nguyen Thi Ngoc Linh, about 20 people joined each Café session. Ms. Duong Thi My Hanh, one of the participants, shared, “I used to be worried and lack peace. Now I have become less negative. Thanks to this program I have experienced peace, joy, love and happiness and can think more positively.”
Living Values Activities have blossomed in Can Tho City
Can Tho City, the capital of the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, has had several LVE activities since the end of May, thanks to the efforts of trainer Duong Thi Van. “Awakening values”, a weekly LVE program for about 50 children, ages 8 to 14 began 29 May at Ninh Kieu district’s Children Cultural House. Values activities for parents have been organized at the same place since 12 June. The Can Tho online newspaper posted: “No theoretical teachings, no requirement for complex writings, but interesting activities. This program has brought lessons of values to participants in a light but impressive way. The program has become a regular, beneficial playground for many people of different ages.”
Trainer Duong Thi Van also conducted values workshop for the teachers and management board of Can Tho’s Economics and Techniques College, Co Do district’s Education Department, Can Tho’s Youth and Children Support Center, as well as sessions on peace and success for the youth. From these trainings, she has gathered a group of seven LVE volunteers, formerly participants of her classes.
Group meeting of Living Values Education Facilitators on 11 June
A meeting among 16 LVE Facilitators started with activities to deeply explore values in relationships. This was led by Trish Summerfield, LVRC’s senior advisor. In the second half, each member shared their experiences of bringing values to students and parents at their organizations. A representative from Vietnam Australian International School (VAS) told the group that LVE has become more effective at their school since both the LVE books for teachers and parents are used.
One member from Binh Minh Village shared that LVE has become an official subject set by the government for all drug rehabs centers in Vietnam. This news is quite significant for Living Values Education activities in Vietnam.
Living Values playground in summer time in HCMC
Facilitators Tran Thi Tra Giang and Do Van Dai organized programs for children ages from 8 to 14 on 26 June and 3 July. Fifteen children enjoyed the activities and values experiments in each program.
30 June – 3 July: Values TOF workshop at Truong Vinh Ky School, Gia Lai Province
Truong Vinh Ky School is located in the mountainous area of south central Vietnam with many students from ethnic groups. The Training of Facilitators was conducted by Pham Thi Sen, Director of LVRC, with the support of trainer Lai Van Anh. LVRC also brought milk powder, books and value cards as gifts for teachers and students at this school.
12 – 15 June and 12 – 15 July: LVE TOF workshops for IVS boarding school
LVRC trainer Bao Chau conducted a Training of Facilitators for 31 teachers from Thu Duc branch in June and 27 teachers from Bac Ninh branch in July. IVS is a school under the Vovinam martial arts and Sports Research and Development Institute. Bui Minh Vuong, a participant, shared “Living Values will be my luggage on the education path, for my life at present and in the future.”
14 – 17 July: TOF workshop at Lawrence S. Ting School (LSTS), District 7 HCM
Trainer Bich Ha, LVRC’s Deputy Director, and trainer Lai Van Anh, led this 4-day workshop for 33 teachers at LSTS. Four teachers from Da Nang City in the central of Vietnam and one professor from Binh Duong University also participated. Le Thi Thuy Anh, an LSTS’s teacher, shared after the workshop: “This training has helped me to better understand myself and people around me. I definitely will give time for myself to sit in peace and in reflection of positive things for more self progress. From now on I also need to respect myself more and apply the values steadily so that I can really absorb and spread them to other people.”
Living Values Parenting Classes172 people attended 4 parenting classes on 10 April, 19 May, 10 July, and 6 August. These sessions were conducted by trainer Pham Thi Sen, LVRC’s Director. Ms. Nguyen Thi Nghi, a mother of two kids, shared: “What I liked most from this program is the part about what we need to do to grow the values as there are a lot of things I need to do for myself and for my family. First, I need to grow the values in myself before growing them in my kids. Now I know the truth that I need to be happy before being able to bring happiness to my family and my kids. Secondly, I need to improve my way of educating my children by loving, respecting, listening, and understanding them. Thirdly, I need to encourage my dear ones to act together with me. This course helped me to recognize what I did wrong or right so that I can adjust myself. I will apply all I learned to myself, and then to my role as a mother.”
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