December 2005

A monthly e-zine of the British Institute of Sathya Sai Education

Dear Readers

Welcome to the December 2005 issue of our monthly e-zine.

This month:

If you have any feedback about this newsletter, or would like to share your experiences of SSEHV, please write to us.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to send Season's Greetings to all our readers and wish everyone a very Happy New Year.

Kind Regards,
The Newsletter Team

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Developing the 'Morality Quotient' in Children

Based on excerpts from a speech given this year by Dr. Art-ong Jumsai, former NASA Scientist, and founder of the Institute of Sathya Sai Education, Thailand.

Sathya Sai Education in Human Values focuses children's minds on the values that underlie a civilised society. The traditional system of educating children in schools, as well as at home, forms individuals that are outstanding in mathematics, science, technology and the other usual subjects, rather than cultivating honest, upright, peace-loving and, above all, loving people.

Give Priority to Values
This does not mean that teachers should stop teaching maths and other sciences, but at the same time, while they are teaching adding, subtraction, division and multiplication tables, they should give priority to human values. For example: to show how to subtract, a primary school textbook may have a picture of a farmer who had ten cows but seven were stolen. The question is asked, 'How many cows are left?' In this case, if the teacher does not explain that stealing is a dishonest act, that it is not right to do this, the children will think that it is a perfectly normal action.

On the other hand, if instead of that construction, the teacher tells them that the farmer has a son to whom he gives seven cows because he loves him very much, in addition to helping subtract, it will develop the value of love in the students.

"The Person Who Loves Cannot Be Violent"
Beyond developing intelligence, if goodness is cultivated in children, they develop love for themselves and for others, and when they grow up they will do everything with an attitude of helping others. What is the use of only developing a child's intelligence, if when he grows up he will be selfish and do bad things because he doesn't care about others?

Love is the basis of all human values because someone who loves himself and others will have inner peace that leads to rectitude and peace. 'The person who loves cannot be violent' is a common phrase used in SSEHV.

SSEHV follows the principles that education should form and strengthen the following values in the child: illumination, duty, devotion, understanding, character, action, gratitude, integrity, unity and nobility.

Constant Interaction with The Community - A Must For Every School
Teachers should be more interested in developing the child's MQ (Morality Quotient) and the EQ (Emotional Quotient) than the IQ (Intelligence Quotient).

It is important for schools to be in constant interaction with the community. Parents and society should be attentive to what happens in schools. They should know the teachers and know how they are teaching the classes, what and how they teach.

All the information the children receive is stored in their memory and remains in the subconscious, so if they are treated badly, when they are grown that information will come to the surface and they will want to take revenge or treat others badly. On the contrary, if children receive love, respect, gratitude and other values, as adults they will treat others in the same way.

Impact of Media
There are several cases of students that have murdered their classmates in different U.S. schools. There are studies that prove that those children saw during their lives at least 15,000 murders on their television screens. Surveys show that world-wide, children are in front of their televisions more than four hours daily. Children see a lot of violence on TV programmes, They store it in their subconscious and may act it out.

Preach By Example - The Best Rule
Children have a very developed sixth sense. They feel when they are loved and this inspires them and makes them feel good. For this reason, in addition to the direct message of values education, we as adults need to be careful about giving them 'message through actions'. This refers to the attitude the adults take with children. To illustrate, consider the case of teachers that speak kindly to their students but act like policemen. The rule teachers and parents should follow to educate children is to preach by example.

The mission of the Sathya Sai philosophy is to educate to transform, under a system that advocates the development of all human potential, strengthening character and the personality of the student and to renew their individual and social commitment.

Education - An Inner Journey
SSEHV sees education as a process where the body, mind and spirit should be developed, affirming that the essential function of education is to contribute to letting children and young people develop all their talents. This process that begins with self-knowledge and then expands to children's relations with those around them.

Graduates of the schools that promote this philosophy are outstanding because they become men and women with unity of thought, word and action, living lives guided by human values. They are sensitive, loving, truthful and happy; respecting the environment and able to develop their own potential. They are also committed to their personal, family and social development.


SSEHV Parenting

Did you know that last year the UK charity, Parentline Plus, took over 100,000 phone calls from parents concerned about issues ranging from bullying to underage sex?

In a report published by the organisation, most of those who rang said that their children's behaviour was the biggest problem. But the charity said because parenting is "so private and intimate" parents were unwilling to admit publicly how difficult it can be.

"As a result, many feel unable to ask for help which could make significant improvements to their lives and the lives of their children," the report said.*

In today's busy, stressful world, good parenting - which requires time and patience - is not always easy . Parenting should be seen as a skill to learn rather than an instinct we are born with.

The SSEHV Parenting Course is designed to provide parents and parents-to-be with practical values-based skills to make the home a happier and more secure place. Through a mixture of presentations and experiential activities such as role play, discussion, inner reflection, games and silent sitting, participants are encouraged to explore their inner motivations and the forces which influence the behaviour of their family members. Students are able to experience each of the five Human Values and gain an understanding of their fundamental importance for parenting, and indeed for all human relationships.

The workshop is carried out in a non-threatening environment where participants are encouraged to take part to the extent they feel comfortable. Frequent breaks and group activities enable every participant to interact and establish strong personal relationships.

The course consists of seven sessions of 2.5 hours each which take place over seven consecutive weeks on either a week or week-end day, or three full consecutive days, particularly at the same time as children's Holiday Schools. If you would like to organise a Parenting Course in your area, please contact Pamela Nash. A minimum of ten participants is required.

* Source: BBC News Online, 2 November 2005


URGENT: Parlez-vous français?

Thank you to all those who responded to this call for help in last month's issue. We now have people collaborating on this vitally important project who are based in many countries around the globe including Zambia, Mauritius, France, Belgium, Mexico and the USA. It is wonderful to think that so many people in so many places are generously giving their time and skills and in so doing, forming a human values chain around the world. Sometimes it's easy to think that we live our lives in isolation, but in fact the practice of human values and the supply of safe drinking water in any part of the globe affect all of us. This really is a global project!

We still need more help - particularly with proofing translated material in French. Following is last month's article as a reminder:

The African Institute of Sathya Sai Education, TAISSE, is currently working with UN HABITAT to provide SSEHV to schools, teacher training colleges and community and government organisations in 15 African countries, as part of UN HABITAT's 'Water for African Cities' programme. By deploying values education at the grass-roots level, problems affecting access to clean water - including pollution, corruption, theft, waste and poor hygiene - can be effectively tackled, thereby helping to alleviate water shortages and water borne diseases which cause so much suffering in many of Africa's poorest nations.

This mammoth undertaking is generating an enormous quantity of written material in the form of feasibility studies, training manuals, workshop reports, etc. As half the countries involved in the project are French speaking, there is an urgent need for translators who are fluent in both French and English and able to translate in either direction.

If you have excellent written French and English, and would like to help this extremely important project by giving a few hours a week to help with translation, please contact Jo Pratt on or tel: +44 208 699 6566.


“Information Sharing Corner”

Welcome, to what we hope will be a regular new feature of this Newsletter. We often receive emails from people who would like to use this monthly e-zine to request help from others on human values/teaching related projects in different countries. We start with a couple of such requests received from readers in Canada and India. Please email your requests to , and we will do our best to publish them.

Ranji Gupta from Canada, has contacted us, seeking information and ideas about teaching time management to children aged nine to twelve years. If you have any material that would be of use to Ranji, please contact her via email to: .

We have also received a request from Vijaya Lakshmi (, in India, who would like to obtain any teaching material on the topics of purity, patience and perseverance. He would be pleased to hear from anyone who can help in this regard.

Thank you.


Training Update: 2006

The following courses are confirmed for the early part of 2006. Please email the named contact next to each, if you would like further information, or to participate.

Foundation Training - Stratford, East London: 11th, 18th, 25th February, 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th March. Contact: Pamela Nash .

Easter Intensive Foundation Course - Broadstairs, Kent: 1st - 6th April. Contact: Pamela Nash .

Parenting Course - Leicester, 5th & 19th March, 2nd & 23rd April, 7th & 21st May. Contact: Michele White .



The Wonder of Things

by Kay Challenor

The horse chestnut tree had been there as long as the children could remember. It had also been there as long as their parents could remember and even the children's grandparents could remember playing around its trunk, climbing between the large gnarled roots that twisted and coiled around its base. Such fun they had; games of pirates, Robin Hood and wild animals of a deep dark forest. All the time the children played, the tree watched, looking over them. Watching as each generation grew up and became men and women, shading them with its branches of leaves which turned from green buds to an array of reds and gold in flow with the seasons.
Now it was conker season. The children were searching underneath the tree, seeking out the green prickly cases and prising them open to reveal the dark treasures.

"Found one!" Timmy yelled holding up his find to show the others.

"'Bout time…Wow! What a whopper!"

Timmy held the chestnut in his hand. The sun caught the deep brown surface and it shone beautifully. It almost looked good enough to eat.

"Bet that'll be a champion. Well done, Timmy, lucky you!"

Timmy smiled at his brother and stuffed the large conker into his coat pocket. The others had found a lot of conkers. Some even had bags full. All of them were eager to win the annual school conker championships. Every year some children tried to find ways of making their conkers harder, to withstand the continuous knocking from others and so become the champion, the strongest conker of all. Some children tried to dry or bake their conkers and others even tried to drill holes into them and fill them with cement. However, they never won. It was realised that the only true champion conkers grew naturally and they were the biggest and ripest ones to fall from the tree.

Tim sat down on the tree roots leaning his back against the trunk. His hand held the conker in his pocket. He could feel the smooth surface against his fingers and he knew that his conker was special.

Two bigger children joined the group. They had already been and collected conkers, but they wanted some more.

"Let's see what you've got," one demanded. He peered into the bag that was offered up for his inspection. "They're not worth anything," he scoffed, "Is that the biggest you have got?"

"Well Timmy found the biggest. He's got it in his pocket."

Timmy watched as the boy walked over towards him scowling.

"Show me," the boy said, leering down over him.

Timmy held the conker in his clenched fist. He knew that the boy was a bully and if he took the conker out from his pocket the boy was likely to snatch it from him.


The boy glared down at Timmy, a flash of anger on his face. For a moment everything was tense and still, then to Timmy's relief the boy relaxed. "Suit yourself," he said turning to his companion with a shrug. "This kid has found a whopper. There must be more than one, so let's find the others."

"But Si. We've looked everywhere."

The larger boy scowled again. "Then they must be on the tree. Come on. Let's knock them down."

He hunted for a large stick and began to jump up at the overhanging branches, lashing out at the conkers still hanging from the tree.

Timmy jumped, startled. With his back against the tree trunk he was sure that he had felt the tree shudder.

The bigger boy began to get more frustrated. The conkers were beyond his reach and because they were not properly ripe, were stuck fast to the branches. He decided to try a new tactic and, gathering stones, began to hurl them at the tree.

Tim jumped again as he felt a deep rumble beneath him. He could feel the pain of the tree as energy rushed through the tree trunk leaving his back prickling with heat. He flew to his feet.

"Stop it!"

Surprised by his outburst the boy stood still in amazement. Timmy went red in the face but something within him was stirring him to take action and speak his truth.

"You're hurting the tree. Don't you realise that this tree is a living organism and is sensitive to pain?"

The boy gathered himself together. He didn't want to lose face through being shown up by this slip of a child and so picked up another stone. "Yeah, right! Sure this lump of wood has got feelings!" He threw back his arm ready to launch his missile.
Then an amazing thing happened.

A sudden gust of wind blew around the tree. It blew through the leaves causing them to move and rustle and around the branches causing them to creak and clap together. The entire tree appeared to come to life, one moving mass of energy and sound.

The boy stood still in amazement.

"See," said Timmy. "Just because the tree doesn't talk like you and me, just because it doesn't walk and move around them same way we do, doesn't mean that it isn't alive and has feelings."

Timmy felt his conker grow hot in his hand, he took it out from his pocket and reluctantly held it out to the boy. "Here. Don't hurt the tree anymore. You can have my conker."

The boy looked down at Timmy's intense face and at the beautiful conker in his hand. Part of him wanted to snatch it. He could see that it was a special conker and was bound to win all the school tournaments. However, he shook his head.

"Thanks, Tim, but no. It's OK. I had no idea." He looked up at the tree which once again stood motionless and held out his hand to the trunk. He felt the rough bark etched with markings of growth and he studied the gnarled trunk that reflected the tree's history and experiences. As he focused on the tree, the boy became motionless too, transfixed, as if he was part of the tree himself, part of its stillness and experience. Slowly a large smile began to spread across his face and he seemed happy and content as he took his hand away. All his previous anger and tension seeming to have melted from him. "Wow! I felt the tree talk. I could feel a subtle pulsation beneath my fingers and my hand went all hot. Isn't it amazing!"

Timmy smiled, "…And to think," he said. "All that started from one seed just like this!" he held out his conker as it glistened and gleamed. "Magic!"

The other boy grinned. "That really is a beauty Tim. Let's plant it and we can watch it grow. Maybe in the future it will be as large and as amazing as this tree."

Timmy agreed, "Let's!"

The tree responded, rustling its leaves and gently swaying its branches in approval.


1. Why were the children collecting conkers?
2. Which conkers usually became champions?
3. Why didn't the conkers fall off the tree, even though the boy threw sticks and stones?
4. How did the tree feel when it was being hit?
5. What did Timmy say to the larger boy?
6. How did the large boy feel when he touched the tree?
7. What did Timmy and the boy agree to do with the conker?
8. What did the large boy learn?
9. How did you feel when you heard the story?
10. Did it remind you of anything in your own life?


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Copyright © 2005 British Institute of Sathya Sai Education (BISSE). BISSE is a non-profit organisation committed to promoting human values in education.
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