Everyday we are flooded with news of accounts of strife, violence within families and in society, increase in drug and alcohol abuse, delinquency of children, unethical dealings of people and corporations, and a host of unhappy events resulting from our lifestyles, global warming and climate change.
We tend to reconcile ourselves as helpless persons or accuse others for what happens, but rarely do we ask ourselves whether we, individually and collectively, are assuming our primary roles. Individual and group actions determine the events that we witness. What then should be our position and the way forward? Prof Soodursun Jugessur’s book – ‘Value Crisis’, which will be launched next Thursday at the University of Mauritius, outlines a basic strategy for enabling a change in the way we live and act so as to promote a better world.
Says Prof Jugessur: “We need to start right at the very roots. Our present bias on a career-oriented education, on economic growth oriented and energy intensive development, is not giving proper results as little stress is currently laid on universal values that sustain and enrich life, and that lead to sustainable development. It needs to be supplemented by education on and internalization of known universal values of mutual love, trust, solidarity, empathy, sharing, truth, perseverance, the welfare of future generations – and this should start within the family, the first nursery, through regular contacts and dialogues.
“When the roots are properly nurtured, the tree is most likely to be strong and healthy, and the fruits as desired. That is why proper parenting, caring for the individual, tackling family issues and promoting family happiness are so important to ensure local and global peace and harmony. Our future lies in the way we live at present, and if we can, through family education, enable the members to be more responsible and take charge of their own development in consonance with global needs, we can ensure sustainability of this development.
‘Value Crisis’ is meant to educate people on the need to change lifestyles by first taking stock of what presently exists. Understanding why we behave in a particular way and why we go for the easy life that our development brings are prerequisites for taking the necessary measures to avoid pitfalls. All these aspects are covered in the chapters of the book. It is full of examples to learn from. The main chapters cover competition in daily life, the post-industrial revolution, stages of human development, proper parenting, character building, avoidable pitfalls, roles of socio-cultural and religious organizations, programs in schools, humanity’s future, some introspective interrogations, and bringing family values back.
“In essence, the core of the program highlighted requires that the members of a family communicate daily if possible, in a spirit of family communion, where open dialogue and recounting the day’s events, sharing the joys, sorrows, achievements, disappointments, successes and failures, become a routine. Such dialogues encourage the people to speak the truth without fear, to express themselves freely and thus contribute to developing trust, mutual trust, love and understanding, and the spirit of solidarity. It strengthens family bonds that enable peace and harmony within the fold. These are prerequisites for happiness within the family. And as the society is made of families, the entire society can be a living expression of such happiness if all families understand and follow the program,” says Prof Jugessur.
“Only sincere effort and optimism lead to progress. It is not utopia, but a conscious effort by each of us, young and old, to assume our responsibilities as a member of the wider global community, the global family, not neglecting our responsibilities towards the other species that make the richness of our biodiversity. ‘Value Crisis’ highlights the back-to-basics approach to tackle the multiple problems that affect mankind,” concludes Prof Jugessur.
* Published in print edition on 16 January 2014