- Manners maketh Man.
- The forming of character.
- The home, the best school for moral training.
- Methods of moral training.
In the 14th century, William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, founded two great educational institutions-New College, Oxford, and the Great Public School at Winchester. He gave to both the same motto; “Manners maketh Man”. In those days the word “manners” did not mean more outward behavior, as it does now, but what we should call good conduct or morality. By this motto the wise Bishop means that it is good moral conduct based on sound moral principles that makes a man. So he did not regard education as the mere getting of knowledge and mental training, but mainly as moral training. In other words, he recognized that the only thing that really matters in life was character.
The being so, moral education is all important. From their earliest years children must be taught the difference between right and wrong, and trained to love and follow what is right and hate and avoid what is wrong. Such training means the formation of character on right lines. Its object is to bring children up in such a way that they will grow up to be truth-loving, honest, brave, pure-minded and unselfish men and women.
The home is the best school for moral education. Schoolmasters cannot get into such close touch with their pupils as can parents with their own children. Nor can they appeal to their love and affection as good father and mothers can. Moreover, moral education has to begin in the earliest years of the child, long before he can go to school. And these early years are the most important. As a Roman Catholic Cardinal once said, “Give us the children up to seven years old, and you can have them the rest of their lives.”
The methods of moral training are teaching, example and punishment. The child must be taught what is right by moral lessons, advice, warning; and he must be shown what is right by good example. So there is a great responsibility laid upon parents to live a good life before their children; for, example is better than precept. Only when teaching and example fail should punishment be resorted to; but it has its place in moral training. At the same time, kindness, understanding and tact will often do more than punishment in keeping a boy straight. Sincere religion, too, is a great aid to morality; for one who had learnt to love and obey the good God wants to do right and be good. True religion was finely summed up by our holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) :
“What doth Allah require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with the Allah?”.