Part 14 of 36
A world that realizes universally shared values resembles a perfect human body. All the various organs in the body work in harmony for a common purpose according to the commands of the brain. In the same way, directives from the hearts of mature people will produce goodness and righteousness. Universally shared values are common ethical and moral social guides centered on our Heavenly Parent’s true love and heart.
Heavenly love is beyond religion. It is a heart that gives and forgets; that does things for others and wants to do more; and loves unconditionally forgetting what was done. To develop this kind of heart our emotion, intellect, and will have to be united with true love. As individuals, our immaturity causes us to feel conflicted, confused, and blinded. Our families, a product of immature individuals, often fight, hurt each other, and do things we regret. This gets multiplied to the community, society, nation, and world.
What Makes a Value Universal?
What are the criteria by which we may recognize a universal value? It should meet the test of reversibility. If I do something to you, how would I feel if it were done to me? Respecting another person's property and not taking what belongs to someone else meets this test. Another test for universal validity is generalizability. Would it be good if everyone did it? An example of this is living for the sake of others in mind. It’s not the amount of riches a person gains in his lifetime that classifies a person as being good or evil, but rather the heart of the person and how he uses his profit. America has been blessed with great wealth. The question is, as a country, how much does America think about the world and what kind of affect does it have on other countries.
A universal value is compelling to the conscience. It rings true to the intuition as well as to reason. Sometimes, we may feel something is right in our conscience, but it might not be well thought out as far as how its affects others. For instance, we may think we have a right to exhibit anger because of what was done or feeling hurt. However, if we think logically, we need to consider all angles of the argument apart from emotion.
Finally, a universal value brings objective benefits to the individual and society over the long term.
This is not a comprehensive list of universally shared values. We as families, communities, and nations must discover what they are through experience and results. What we do know is that they are based on God’s true love. There is the vertical connection to universally shared values because only our Heavenly Parent’s love encompasses all that is right and good. We can’t just think our own conscience is enough because our environment may not have taught us the right things and so our conscience is not based on our Heavenly Parent’s love.
Practicing the Standards of Good Character
One of the reasons I have so much respect for Father and Mother Moon is because they were often persecuted yet they continued to love others. They were not understood but they continued to devote their lives with unconditional love for the sake of the world. Things did not turn out as they hoped but they never gave up. Instead, they invested more and re-determined their efforts.
We develop moral character only by continual self-discipline and by practicing standards of good behavior. When we care about our family and feel responsible for them we do not stumble into a life of self- indulgence. Disciplined people are capable of hard work and have the personal virtues required to create wealth and use it wisely. People of good character are social and economic assets to their community.
Interrelated Social and Emotional Competencies
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has identified five interrelated social and emotional competencies*:
~ Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize our emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior.
~ Self-management: The ability to regulate our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations.
~ Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
~ Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups.
~ Responsible decision making: The ability to make decisions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.
Deepening our Hearts and Expanding our Horizons
Communication, discipline, and education must be packaged in love for the other. When I noticed my actions or words were based on my anger or impatience, I try to step back a minute to find the right heart. Techniques and habits have a place in discipline, but the most important aspect of education is the right heart of the person offering it and how that affects the ones receiving it. Each generation seems to stress a certain technique in discipline. The problem of relying too much on techniques is we may lose the heart. We could alienate or hurt the heart of the person we are trying to raise up.
The same applies to our religious or political views. We feel passionate about them and can be overzealous to the point of hurting the heart of others. Founders of the Institute for Civility in Government defined civility*:
Civility is about more than just politeness, although politeness is a necessary first step. It is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, listening past one’s preconceptions, and teaching others to do the same. Civility is the hard work of staying present even with those with whom we have deep-rooted and fierce disagreements. It is political in the sense that it is a necessary prerequisite for civic action. But it is political, too, in the sense that it is about negotiating interpersonal power such that everyone’s voice is heard, and nobody’s is ignored…And civility begins with us.
Love cannot be separated from ethics, because ethics refers to the way we properly relate with others. The connection in religious or political conversations is often lost when our emotion, intellect, or will is not centered on heart.
Deepening our hearts and expanding our horizons is a matter of growth. It takes time and effort. Inner peace starts inside individuals, but we need to understand and clearly enable the circular inter-connectedness between the four realms of heart. The realms of heart in the family are the children’s realm, the sibling realm, the spouse’s realm, and the parental realm. We hope to change and get over contention between family members. When that ability to bring harmony expands, peace in the society can come. There are always points of agreement in any argument. As we grow and understand universally shared values, we can not only come to deeper knowledge about the world’s cultures, we can expand our appreciation of truth, beauty, and goodness.
How do love and values relate?
What are your ideas about universally shared values?
What experiences have you had learning about ethical and/or moral values?
How do you respond to conflicts or difficulties?
Why is civility important?
What are your goals for developing true love?
What is the best discipline?
*Farnham, Lija. Fernando, Gihani. Perigo, Mike. & Brosman, Colleen. with Paul Tough, "Rethinking How Students Succeed (SSIR)." Stanford Social Innovation Review, Feb. 2015
*Spath, Tomas, and Cassandra Dahnke (Co-Founders of the Institute). “What Is Civility?” The Institute for Civility in Goverment, www.instituteforcivility.org/who-we-are/what-is-civility/.