By Fr. John Chrysostom Kiwanuka
OPINION | Few days ago we have been reading from newspapers about the fire outbreak and death of some students at St. Bernard’s Manya SS in Rakai district and also names of schools that have suffered the same in the past years.
Are Christian values still emphasized and inculcated in students in schools or is it more of the worldly values?
Worldly values include power, pleasure, good grades, revenge, and even status, which are seen as the most important things to people who perceive no power beyond themselves.
Worldly values promote jealousies, resentments and conflicts among people.
On the other hand Christian values include love, forgiveness, peace, Kindness, respect and justice. They are based on God and the work of Jesus Christ.
They are based on spiritual and not worldly things. Christian values provide a safe environment in which a student is valued and in which a student can find security, acceptance, reassurance and an opportunity to develop their potential.
We should aim at creating a caring and a happy community of the school in which the Christian values are upheld.
The most important Christian value is for a Christian to value God more than anything, anybody or any idea.
Christian values empower the students to develop their spiritual lives and guide them in their personal development as effective learners and good citizens. Kindness and respect for all people instead of power, forgiveness instead of revenge.
Christian values promote peace and good will among people in line with the purpose of God.
Bearing a grudge and seeking revenge are never appropriate responses to a perceived wrong. A grudge destroys the grudge- holder with bitterness and revenge only escalates hostilities.
It seems today Christian values have taken a back seat. The teaching of these fundamental values in schools seems to be still lacking.
Teachers are overloaded and we might not expect them to play a leading role in this area. Perhaps a supportive role but it remains the responsibility of the family and religious leaders to instill the proper values.
It is not a secret that for the last few decades, values are changing with the influence of the contemporary society. The fear of God is unfortunately disappearing.
There is pressure from society that easily makes God to be removed from the aspect of public lives of people.
These changes are being reflected in many ways and mirrored by our students and young people today for examples the alleged students of S.4 of Manya who burnt their fellow students. So many signs are disturbing and basic manners are often now lacking.
Teaching Christian values and beliefs in schools is extremely important since it will govern how students will treat one another and be of service to others.
In such trying moments, it is up to every citizen to fulfill their duty and keep their Christian values alive and enact.
These values will provide the students with an opportunity to develop spiritually. In this way, they may reflect on the bigger questions of life and refine their moral judgment in order to make better and wiser decisions.
It will allow them to experience God in a more profound way. Being fair and open to each other, agreeing always to tell the truth helps them to see themselves as trustworthy and reliable.
By living and modeling these Christian values to our students, we shall have a disciplined and a compassionate society.
The writer is the Chaplain of Trinity College Nabbingo