Opinion: Morality Issues Fundamental Responsibility of the Family

We are all missing one important element in the debate whether the church should recruit members as church school heads. The missing component of the equation is the family. The
22 Aug 2017 11:00
Opinion: Morality Issues Fundamental Responsibility of the Family
Teachers and students of Vashist Muni Memorial Primary school of Navua marking International Day Against Drugs and Illicit Trafficking on June 29, 2017. Photo: Shirley Kumar

We are all missing one important element in the debate whether the church should recruit members as church school heads.

The missing component of the equation is the family.

The Methodist Church’s resolution to have its own members lead its schools is controversial. The church’s Secretary for Communication, Reverend James Bhagwan, said the resolution was part of the moral and holistic educational framework. In the recent past, he said, the Government had called on religious institutions to address the moral issues in our societies by strengthening our moral education and that was what they were responding to.

For the Methodist Church, he said, a knowledge-based society was not enough.

“We want a society that has moral integrity as well as knowledge. That’s why we want teachers who can deliver that to our students,” Reverend Bhagwan said.

With all due respect to the sentiments expressed by Reverend Bhagwan, I believe the best place to teach moral integrity is in the home.

This should be the target of all churches. Schools can only complement this home training.

Their basic responsibility is secular training, teaching our students the arts, sciences and current events. And to achieve our education outcomes, we need the best teachers in the business. Many parents send their students to school with faith that teachers will deliver for their children these outcomes. The religious training (spiritual) compliments this secular training.

Studies have shown that students who come from strong families who uphold both academic and spiritual values usually succeed in life.

The values include obedience, respect, honesty, integrity, hard work, sacrifice and humility.

A student who listens to the teachers, obeys school rules, overcomes peer pressure and loves to study, is already on the road to success.

It is sad to say that despite all the Government’s education incentives like free school fees and free bus fares, TELS and Toppers, we still see young people roaming the streets after dropping out of school or playing truant.

Whose responsibility is it to keep them at school and interested in learning?

It is the family, particularly the parents or guardians. They are the ones we should be targeting.

Churches should use their resources to go down to the community and teach parents and their children the doctrines, principles and values they preach in their chapels. It’s harder to get through a message in a mass meeting than in small groups.

At a family level, it can be personal and candid. Members of the family can ask questions if a teaching is not clear.

The parents must understand that they have a God-given responsibility to raise their children in the ways of God, to be good citizens, to obey the law, to be educated and become productive members of society, to help the less fortunate, the poor and the needy. The children must also learn that they have responsibilities too to the family and society as a whole.

Such an approach will lower the risks of our children falling into the wrong crowd.

Parents should understand that they cannot afford to shirk their responsibilities and shift the burden of teaching their children moral values to the schools.

The schools already have enough on their plate. They have goals to achieve and should not spend too much of their times taking over as parents as well.

That’s why we should re-focus on the family. The home is the first classroom. It is the basic unit of any society. When it fails, society suffers.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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