Sound values are very essential for peace of the society and the wellbeing of its citizens. When moral decadence has permeated the entire society, it is a cause for concern. It calls for immediate, sustained intervention. Any procrastination to commence a repair and rebuilding of sound values in such a case, only permits the society to spiral into the abyss of anarchy, and it gets to a point where the effort to re-establish a good value system looks impossible.
INCRESE in its leadership session’s for adolescent girls and young women dealt with a topic that kept me frozen on the mat in my office floor.
The topic today was “Ways of Improving Friendship”. While the facilitators led discussion on skills needed to improve friendships, there was debate about building trust. This had to do with keeping secrets. Because if a person shares information with her or his friend and says it should be kept confidential, she or he expects that principle to be respected. Failure to do so might destroy the friendship.
The question now was “is it all secrets that should be kept secret?”
The argument and counter arguments caused the facilitators to give the class group work.
Those who said all secrets should be kept in order to preserve trust in a friendship were asked to go and list instances where such confidentiality is sacrosanct.
Those who said not all secrets should be kept secret were also asked to go and come up with a list of examples of secrets that cannot be kept secret even in a friendship.
The groups were told that they will explain and give reasons for their answers.
The first group came with this list:
- Murder case: this group explained that if a friend accidentally kills somebody, and confided in them, it would be wrong to ‘expose’ their friend or the murder.
- Having an affair: they voted ‘do not share or report’ if a friend tells you that they have an affair, for the sake of trust, we should not tell anyone.
- Stealing: the group reported that if their friend steals a pen and tells them, they will not report in order to preserve their friendship.
- Lying: the group said if they are with other people and the friend is telling them something that they know is a lie, they will not expose the friend or the lie so that their friendship may be preserved.
- Disease: the group said here that if their friend has an STI or is diagnosed HIV positive, and the friend tells them, they will keep this information confidential on order to keep trust with the friend.
Before make any comment, I was out of my skin sitting in my office before we got to the point of disease.
The second group was asked to list examples of cases they think should not be kept secret.
- Grand theft
- Electoral malpractice
- Examination malpractice
As I listened to explanation from this group, my skin came back on. I smiled and said to myself, “there is hope”.
This group understands that crimes cannot be kept secret. They understand that who keeps quiet covers up a crime and is accomplice to the crime.
They also understand that disease status cannot be disclosed as it did not feature in their presentation.
But more than half the class were in the first group. They are children between the ages of 10 and 15.
Mentoring young people, for all of us who have adolescent projects needs to be done with commitment to deconstruction and reconstruction of values. We need a values system that has at its core respect for the rule of law and human rights of all