THE EDITOR: I have witnessed with increasing alarm the spate of horrendous attacks on women caught in a web of physical, mental and emotional abuse at the hands of their supposed “loved ones.” And even more gruesome, brutal death at the evil hands of opportunist criminals.
I dare say that these very recent incidents highlight the need for us, as citizens, to cultivate relationships which are based on mutual respect, empathy, self-discipline and compassion.
Of equal significance, the horrible events bring sharply into question the functionality and efficacy of our traditional primary agents of socialisation – the home, the school and the community.
I grew up at a time when children were raised by the adults in our communities, who shared a fundamental set of values which were understood by all, and therefore upheld with a great measure of consistency and certainty.
Whether it was in the home, in the school or in the wider community, those precepts were shared and protected, and therefore we thrived in an environment in which social order, discipline and respect for human life were pre-eminent universal values.
It is sad to say, however, that in our natural quest for socio-economic development, in an environment of rapid globalisation, those core critical values have been eroded, to the extent that in many ways they appear to be irrelevant or even non-existent.
If we were to take an objective view of our society, it will be very difficult to deny that we are adrift, searching for an appropriate set of values on which to moor our metaphorical ship of state.
The challenge seems to be, however, that we have not yet identified and communicated, in an elaborate way, the core tenets upon which our society should be anchored, in the context of the manifest realities of the 21st century environment.
It is therefore my humble view that the first step to our salvation is to identify and adopt a set of essential social values to which we as citizens must aspire to live by, faithfully. This task will require a comprehensive reorientation of our current value system through a process of resocialisation, guided by an appropriate values education curriculum.
In terms of a strategy for long-term benefits, it is considered essential for the adoption of some form of compulsory national service that will provide appropriate mentoring to our young men and women in appreciating our society’s aspirations and the meaning, purpose and utility of the core values to which we must all subscribe.
This will ensure that in at least a decade from now, our country would have fully defined and effectively communicated the true basis for our citizenship, and the treasured precepts for living peacefully, respectfully and harmoniously in a democratic, cosmopolitan nation.