Democratic societies the world over are supposed to guarantee certain inalienable rights to the citizens. Rights such as freedom of assembly, speech and worship are universal every individual can claim entitlement to. Citizens on the other hand are required to conduct themselves in a certain way as they enjoy these rights; in other words freedom should be accompanied by responsibility.
In modern society the level of moral decadence especially among the young people has reached alarming proportions. Moral decay among the young people is evident going by the number of juvenile crimes such as shootings in schools, drug and alcohol abuse and teen pregnancy.
This situation has been made worse by the breakdown of the social fabric characterized by the disjointed family as parents are rarely available to guide the children on how to become responsible young adults. The government has not helped the situation as it has denied the parents the opportunity to discipline the children by allowing children to report cases of punishment to the police.
Schools are supposed to mould children into morally upright citizens considering that they spend the better of the day in school. Unfortunately schools in most instances concentrate on the academic development of children leaving them morally deprived.
According to Piaget, all development emerges from action; that is to say, individuals construct and reconstruct their knowledge of the world as a result of interactions with the environment. (Nucci, 2008).
Children rely on what they observe to determine what is right or wrong. Piaget observes that simple rules that children establish as they play games to help them identify what is and what is not fair play determines their “later moral thinking”. Interaction with adults is another major contributor to children moral development as they view them as role models.
Culture and morality are intertwined, to understand moral development, there is need to understand how culture influences our behavior. Culture is a means by which human beings express their way of life; it provides a means of identifying a group of people as distinct from another. With globalization, technology and movement of people across borders, the culture as we knew it has been redefined.
There is a new of form of identity that seeks to create a homogenous community through the social networks. Citizenship as we know it is slowly being replaced by global citizenship that transcends language, religion, ethnicity and region. To preserve the erosion of culture as a means of identity, people have adopted the idea of intercultural dialogue.
The aim of this perspective is to support the preservation and blend of various cultures. Intercultural dialogue enables people to learn more about other cultures thereby eliminating negative perceptions and biases. Intercultural dialogue supports the preservation as well as the fusion of various cultures. The focus of intercultural dialogue is on the willingness to learn about other cultures without the adoption of stereotypes and biases, which are often used to negatively represent a culture. (Marbaniang, 2011)
Intercultural dialogue has also benefited from sports more than from anything else. A sport like soccer has helped create a society that goes beyond boundaries, race and ethnicity. Sports have helped people to appreciate and respect other cultures; this is because sports participants are in constant interaction with people from different cultural backgrounds.
Sports and travel have changed the world by opening opportunities for learning and tolerating other people’s values. Sports have a way of connecting with people and culture beyond tourist attractions and museums. (Branham, 2011).
To fully understand the concept of good moral citizenly, students can undertake a physical exercise that may involve the cleaning of a nearby road. Being the first activity outside school it will be received a mixture of excitement and apprehension.
Students will want to know why they are cleaning the road yet that has always been the responsibility of the municipal employees. To make the student understand, it is important to explain to them why it is important to play the role of adults and the benefits of undertaking such an exercise. Also tell them the health benefits that accrue from cleaning the environment.
A visit to the local municipal office can help students understand why such activities are important. The officer at the municipal office will explain to the pupils that it is a requirement of law to regularly clean the environment. Make the students understand that they will be expected to play such roles as citizens once they become adults.
To help students understand and be proud citizens, there should be programs designed to help them understand their country. Most countries have very rich historical backgrounds that are often ignored in normal school curriculum. Visiting of museums, important monuments and archives where such information is available can greatly enhance the pride of students as citizens.
To enrich the students understanding of other cultures, schools can also organize for trips around the world. These trips will offer the students an opportunity to sample other cultures through food, shelter, religion and language. This kind of program can help students relate their own culture with other cultures that are unfamiliar to them.
Once students are back from such a trip, they can be asked to explain what they learnt orally and also put it in writing. This example can be adopted as a long term project to help students develop an understanding of issues in their country as well as around the world.
Branham, J. (2011). 5 ways sports and travel unite passion and culture around the world. Budget Travel Adventures. Retrieved from http://www.budgettraveladventures.com/traveltips/5-ways-sports-and-travel-unite-passion-and-culture-around-the-world/
Marbaniang, S. (2011). Identify & Get Informed. Taking IT Global. Retrieved from http://issues.tigweb.org/culture
Nucci, L. (2008). Moral Development and Moral Education: An Overview. Studies in Social and Moral Development and Education. Retrieved from http://tigger.uic.edu/~lnucci/MoralEd/overview.html