In the olden days, there used to be this huge family with grandparents, sons and daughters, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, grandchildren and cousins. All the elders had really pompous sounding long names like Moral Principles, Codes of Behavior, Rules of Conduct, Contribution to Society etc. The other members had short simple names like Ethics, Courtesy, Appreciation, Respect, Gratitude, Helpfulness, Justice, Equality etc. All of them used to live together in one small village in the deep interiors of the heart of India. There was a huge rambling bungalow with tens of rooms where they all used to stay as one happy family. The elders ruled the family with a firm hand ensuring that all members were treated Justly, Equally and with Respect.
All of them were magical creatures having the powers of teleportation and insight. Apart from the magic binding them, another unique traits shared by the entire family were their diet and their duty. First, let us talk about their duty. All of them had only one important task assigned to them – when a child was born anywhere in India, they had to go and sprinkle their characteristic fragrance on him or her. Ethics had to spray the baby with the fragrance that would make the baby ethical, Respect had to douse the baby to show respect to elders and so on and so forth. No wonder there was a huge celebration whenever a baby was born – there were the magical guests and the invited friends and family to shower all good things on the baby. So, what was the diet of these magical creatures? They fed off the characteristic they bestowed. To make it easier to understand, let me take some examples. Honesty was fed when the people in the world exhibited honesty. Ethics showed signs of becoming obese when everybody was ethical and so on and so forth. So it was no small wonder that this entire family looked very well-off in the olden days and the world was a sweeter, better world to be in.
Now, in any good story, we have a villain and this story has one too. His name was Mischief. In the beginning, Mr. Mischief used to make the people do small, stupid things – mistakes that could be corrected, errors that were mended and bloopers that were set right. The Value Family now had an additional task of fighting Mr Mischief. Although he was only one, he could influence many people at the same time by using his multi-pronged instrument of disruption. Compared to the staid, serious nature of the Value Family members, he was the rowdy, fun element who promised instant gratification. No wonder that the human population was enchanted with him and started following him, a few at a time. Slowly, the Value Family felt the strain of this betrayal – their intake reduced, they lost that well-fed look and began to starve. While they were still sprinkling their fragrance, they were not getting enough because when the babies didn’t see adults using the members of the Value Family, they did not feel the need to use them too. A few members like Ethics, Codes of Behavior were the first to reach the coma stage before death, followed quite closely by Courtesy and Politeness. And that is how we despair today about the disappearance of the Value Family.
I started this off in the genre of a fairy tale and fairy tales always have happy endings. So, how do we get them back? It is quite simple, isn’t it? If we delve inside each of us, dust the sprinkles of Ethics, Courtesy, Respect etc and start using them with our families, friends and society, wouldn’t that act as an antidote? And of course, tell Mr Mischief to take a walk. Our children would learn seeing us and that would ensure that we have this wonderful family among us for ever and ever.