Creating Heroes 4
The HV4K framework, which is depicted in the picture below, is based on a simple theory that human values can significantly impact people’s lives, especially children, and can and will change the world for the better. The framework is made up of three parts: (1) media development, (2) education in human values, and (3) academic research.
In terms of media development, we believe that media is a key sensory input for all people. Just as the food we eat is important to our overall health and well-being, what we read, watch, and listen to are equally important. Thus, we believe media should be developed that improves the overall health and well-being of people. Values-based media can do this by 1) helping to raise the consciousness of people so that they value what is inside of themselves and others, 2) helping people see unity in diversity and feel more interconnected with other people and other living species on the planet, and 3) positively influencing people’s interactions and decision-making by helping them to see life through the lens of human values.
In particular, children are most impacted by media because they are innocent and their minds are shaped faster and with more impact than at any other time in their lives. As responsible adults, we believe it is our duty to infuse as much goodness as possible into the media context. Today, the majority of media created for consumption by kids is profit-based. Big corporations create media and associated products with the sole purpose of making a significant profit in order to increase corporate and shareholder wealth, no matter what the cost to children and society. On the other hand, values-based media provides an alternative type of media for parents, teachers, and children to consume. While money is important to actually pay for the production of values-based media and associated products, the intention is not to make a profit, but to improve the health and well-being of children through the promotion of human values. Thus, values-based media is not about big dollars, but it does make a lot of sense.
We also believe that as the consumption of values-based media increases over time, consumers will develop greater fundamental discrimination. Fundamental discrimination improves a person’s ability to discern what is good and bad for them, and increases the likelihood of a person choosing what is good. Therefore, as fundamental discrimination is strengthened in children, a protective barrier will also form around them, which is symbolized by the heart around the children in the context diagram above. This protective barrier is actually created by the choices that parents, teachers, and children make in terms of media consumption. Over time, values-based media will be chosen more by parents and teachers because of the positive impact it has on children, and children will begin to prefer values-based media because it makes them feel better. This relationship is symbolized by the solid line between values-based media and parents, teachers, and children. The fact that the solid line can penetrate the protective heart-shaped barrier of fundamental discrimination that surrounds the children, while profit-based media cannot, reinforces the fact that values-based media can have a very powerful impact on children over time. In fact, we believe that the consumption of values-based media by children will help transform them into heroes, who will in turn change the world.
At HV4K, we have established the 108 Steps to Love project to produce values-based media and associated products for children. The project centers on our Adventures in Human Values™ stories and free e-books. The idea is to create as much values-based media as possible based on the Adventures in Human Values™ concepts, and to use the characters and themes to earn revenue from the sale of associated media and products. This revenue stream will allow us to produce more values-based media and products, and help to fund education in human values programs under the auspices of our Value of the Week (V.O.W.) initiative as well as academic research under the auspices of our Character of Research Effort (C.O.R.E.) initiative.
Education in Human Values
While media development is critical in moving the human values cause forward and helping to make a better world, we feel that education in human values can have a far greater impact because of its ability to strengthen fundamental discrimination in children. Children are the future of the world, so their interactions and decision making will shape the world of tomorrow. If human values become the primary influence in their interactions and decision making, then we believe that the world will become transformed in a single generation at a faster pace than technological innovation, with a more powerful and beneficial impact to society and the world.
Of all the adult influences in a child’s life, teachers are one of the greatest. However, the advantage teachers have over other adults is that their sole job is to teach children in a controlled context, ie. the classroom. Thus, if teachers can expose children to human values and give them lessons that make them reflect and churn the impact that human values make on themselves and others, then the probability that a child will interact and make decisions based on human values increases exponentially.
As the context diagram above indicates, as education in human values is delivered in the classroom, the teacher-to-student, student-to-student, and parent-to-teacher relationships are transformed into ones that are heart-to-heart and influenced by human values. These heart-to-heart relationships are symbolized by the hearts appearing on the chests of the teacher, children, and parents. Thus, through the application of education in human values in the classrooms, we believe that we can not only mediate the social settings and create much better environments for teaching and learning, but we can expedite the transformation of children into heroes, who will in turn change the world.
At HV4K, we have established the Value of the Week (V.O.W.) project to support teachers and administrators in adopting education in human values programs in their schools. At minimum, we encourage teachers to introduce a value of the week to students directly through story-telling, quotes, group singing, silent sitting/reflection, activities, and/or curriculum integration. Further, we urge them to make a vow along with their students to make the world a better place by ‘being’ human values. Through our 108 Steps to Love project, we will fund education in human values programs – from the creation of a free online Human Values Academy to the creation of brick-and-mortar schools built on education in human values principles.
Academic research on the impact of human values on people and society has the greatest potential of propelling human values to the forefront of society. We believe that practicing human values can actually impact the health and well-being of children by improving their moral intelligence, psycho-social behavior, physiological health, and academic performance. Current research on adults in the realms of positive psychology and neuroplasticity are showing that “seeing good, doing good, and being good” not only impacts the health and well-being of individuals, but it re-shapes their brains. Thus, given the malleability of children, imagine the impact that values-based media and education in human values could have on them.
Imagine a child that has grown up perceiving life through the lens of human values and actually reflects these human values back to the world. Would this child be more resistant to the ups and downs of life because they will have learned to ‘See Always Inside’ and determine their own value and the value of others by what is intrinsic in them? Would this child be less inclined to engage in conflict and hurt others because they see unity in diversity and the interconnectedness of life? Would this child feel a moral responsibility to help others, and use their talent and ability for the sake of others, and thereby help to make the word a better place?
We believe that the answer to all of these questions is YES, YES, YES! In fact, we believe that if a generation of young people were exposed to human values through values-based media and education in human values, then they would grow up and become heroes in society, who would transform the world through human values filling it with Peace, Truth, Righteousness, Nonviolence, and Love.
At HV4K, we have established the Character of Research Effort (C.O.R.E.) project to inspire and support academic researchers to study the impact of values-based media and education in human values on children, teachers, parents, schools, society, and the world. Through our 108 Steps to Love project, we will fund academic research that aims to make the connections between positive psychology, neuroplasticity, and human values. Further, we will support initiatives to create innovative assessment tools that blend theories of moral intelligence with cutting-edge technology surrounding ‘quantified self’ in an effort to prove our hypothesis, and show the causal relationship between human values and the health and well-being of children.