Society teaches us norms and values and what we need to know. It gives us guidelines on how to behave in our community. It gives us orientation on how our future is supposed to look like and how we can improve our happiness and wealth. With every new generation these values are newly learned and internalized. But within many societies a lack of self-awareness is increasingly noticeable. Furthermore self-expression and self-exploration of the individual values and skills is deteriorating. The „mainstream education“-system nowadays creates a generation which is not able to adapt to unexpected situations. The more individualistic approach leads to less mental strength and an unawareness of where ones place in society can be.
There is a big need to give youth the space to discover and explore their inner personality. This raises the question on how we can apply awareness trainings in today’s schools and education to improve these virtues. An answer to this question could be the implementation of non-violence and peace education.
Non-violence is not only the lecturing about Gandhiji’s philosophy and his values of ahimsa. It also strives to make people aware about their own interests, skills and strengths as well as their weaknesses. Non Violence education has to be practised actively otherwise you won’t understand what’s behind Ganhiji’s vision.
Therefore the school education has to allow a bigger frame of exploring personal self-understanding through discussions; sharing processes and trying to get to know what fits the best for you as an individual.
All of us are nowadays surrounded by a violent world so we have to start to think about how to change it into a more non-violent and peaceful way.
To start such a process we need to begin with ourselves. We have to think about the way we act and behave socially; we have to think and reflect why we are having violent thoughts and believes; we have to rethink our consumption habits and explore more alternatives.
With a wider focus on individual skills and creating an open mind in the context of school education we can give the youth a deeper sense of compassion and concern for the fellow human being. Furthermore we can make them aware of the situation they are living in. Due to this consciousness we are able to see possibilities on how to change our behaviour and food habits we are living in. Through recognition alone of bad values things won’t improve. Teachers need to provide regular classes and exercises on non-violence and peace; providing space for discussions and applying different methods to know one others perspectives. By getting teachers trained in doing non-violent education - not just as a part of lecturing but also as a part of their personal believe - we can give important values to the upcoming generation. We always have to remember that students can only learn if they feel free to make mistakes; are not distracted by anxiety and fear and experience a classroom atmosphere which is encouraging them to learn and interact.
Our society is teaching us not be different; that you will have more problems if you don’t follow the stream and you’re ought to desire to be better than others. But how can this world function if everybody is acting, thinking and consuming this way? If we don’t want to do the same mistakes we have done before, we have to change the structure we are living in. One part can be the development of values and skills as a part of school education. This will enable us to think beyond the frame, to act and behave differently but truthful to ourselves and to explore more possibilities of living. The goal must be to make our lives our own in order to care for humanity; not to be controlled and forced by others or the society.