We read for knowledge, information and pleasure (not necessarily in that order). But is the knowledge gained through reading alone adequate to impact positive change in our lives? Let’s think about it.
Studies and statistical evidence have shown that:
1. Smoking is bad for you.
But people still inhale nicotine and tar into their bodies. Not only do they endanger their own health, they are also putting other passive smokers at risk. How do you explain that?
2. Sugar is bad for health.
Yet, Malaysians consume way too much sugar, so much so that we are becoming a nation of diabetics! How do you explain that?
3. Alcohol is bad for the liver.
But people still consume alcoholic drinks and destroy their health by over consumption. How do you explain that?
4. Sports is good for students.
But schools are doing away with PE and sporting activities and in place of them, more studying subjects, revision and exam preparations. How do you explain that?
5. The Arts are good for creativity.
But the Sciences are given priority while music, art and dancing are placed somewhere at the bottom of the rung. How do you explain that?
6. Better safe than sorry.
But parents choose to ignore safety rules like buckling kids up in the car, or child-proofing the house to prevent accidents, or driving way past the speed limit to the point of endangering the lives of others. How do you explain that?
The Ministry of Health has been spending millions of advertising dollars to send out the message to the public of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. But how effective is that? We continue to eat the wrong foods, get addicted to harmful substances, drive at reckless speed, and turning ourselves into couch potatoes!
Yes, society is getting more knowledgeable and more informed than ever before in the history of humankind. But are we getting more responsible as individuals or as a society? Judging from the sad and increasingly gloomy state of our forests and the environment, the truth is quite telling. We need to be more responsible in the way we live our lives and conduct ourselves wherever we are. From the foods that we eat to the products that we use to the way we live our lives, we need to be a little more responsible and a lot less selfish.
Why? Because we are all interconnected in this big big world of ours. Because life is precious, that’s why we need to value it. Because our time on earth is limited, that’s why we need to live well so that our lives are well lived. Because there are enough suffering in the world, we don’t need to add more to it.
How? Start by being grateful for the life that we have because no matter how badly we think it is, there are those who are worse off than us. Kids today cannot comprehend this kind of thinking because they have everything laid out nicely for them – nice house, nice car, nice clothes, “good” food, nice “toys” (that invariably start with the letter “i”) ….. Everything is done for them so much so that they just live for themselves and the purpose of life is to enjoy life!
Responsible living is:
1. Staying healthy so that we live a disease-free life.
2. Staying safe so that we can continue to contribute positively to life.
3. Staying happy so that we can continue to bring joy to others.
4. Staying grateful for everything that we have so that we value and appreciate them.
If we can inculcate these into our young, we have performed the greatest deed in the world, that is, bringing up healthy, happy and responsible citizens of the world! The world would truly be a better place for all to appreciate and enjoy. And that is the greatest responsibility of parents!