When we began the initial pilot of Living Values Education in February of 1997, we asked educators for feedback. A few asked us about the meaning of the values they were exploring with the children. This prompted us to explore again the purpose of Living Values Education. As educators we felt strongly that we wanted to help create positive, supportive and safe quality learning environments for young people so they could grow toward their potential, but wasn’t another aim to have peace and respect around the world?
Remembering that we began the creation of LVE with a tenet in the Preamble of the United Nations’ Charter, we began to create Reflection Points based on that. Which tenet? “To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person . . .” Universal values teach respect and dignity for each and every person, not just for those of a particular culture, race, background or religion. If we are to promote wellbeing for individuals and the larger society, we needed to define values within this parameter.
In the Living Values Series of books, developed after the pilot, Reflections Points were included within each values unit. They provide information about the meaning of the value being explored and are incorporated in the lessons. “Understanding core values is essential to teaching values if students are to develop lifelong adherence to high principles” (Thomas Lickona, 1993). The Reflection Points are intended to be universal in nature, holding an interdependent perspective of the importance of dignity and respect for each and every one, and our planet. For example, a point in the unit on Respect is: Everyone in the world has the right to live with respect and dignity, including myself. A Tolerance Reflection Point is: Tolerance is being open and receptive to the beauty of differences.
Educators are encouraged to add their favourite Reflection Points, or use favourite sayings from the culture of their community and historical figures. Students can make up Reflection Points or research favourite sayings of their own. Let us know if you would like to add a Reflection Point!