Only an extreme optimist facing the New Year would venture to pronounce the problems of 2011 are behind the global community.

The first few weeks of January, however, lead one to conclude that volatility in its many guises will accompany the world again this year. This is not a pessimistic view, but simply a realistic one, in which, confusion and complaint will seize the headlines for those who find it difficult to persevere at chipping away at solutions to the difficulties the world has got itself into.

It was inspirational to see reported in early January that the mother of the young Tunisian fruit cart vendor whose immolation sparked the Arab Awakening, when she said that “dignity was more important to many Arabs than food”. What a gem of a truth. It is the kernel of the messages which promote actions for peace and social justice, which are emerging as the guiding lights of the second decade of the 21st century.

Parents and educators are wise to have a central goal in their interactions with young people, that generates hope and sketches hope-filled horizons for the future. While the unearthing and transmission of knowledge is fundamental to the education process, of more importance is to inculcate in the young respect for the correct treatment of all human beings.

Before any of the above is likely to occur, the fundamental spiritual nature of each human being needs to be recognised and spoken about. At long last the New Zealand curriculum recognizes this foundation to what occurs in our schools.  All of this is based on the wisdom of the ages and is taught by the world’s great philosophers and sages, as well as by the great religions.

In our faith based schools it is so much easier to build on this concept with the imperatives of particular faith traditions.

The presence of trust in a relationship is more likely to enable practical steps to be taken to advance the health of the relationship.  At rock bottom, trust is generated when genuine efforts are made by leaders to honour the spirit of their words. Trust breeds confidence in the intention and actions of individuals, whether in families or larger organizations.

The American Founding Fathers proclaimed, “In God we Trust”. They also knew that without trust, nobody can stand, since trust is the intangible, yet real glue of growth and development in organisations and between individuals. Fundamental to trust is a leader possessing values which reflect sound ethics.

The world is made up of fragile human beings who make mistakes, yet who are still eminently capable of great things in their lives. In tough times inspirational education builds on the spiritual, hope-filled dimension of individuals. It emphasizes that innovation, investment in individuals and collaboration in its various forms are the antidotes to the tearful and fearful souls who are cowered by tough times. Since we have created many of our problems, we can solve them. Tough times do not last – history teaches us to hope!! Good ultimately triumphs when good people seek to inspire and persuade others that tomorrow can be better than today.

20 January 2012

Patrick J. Lynch