“Life Ethics Seminar” was especially designed to provide youth with some valuable information as they go through different phases in life. The topics presented related to awareness of the expectations they will be facing as they embrace adult life and how best they can relate to situations in the home, with peers, at work, social world and at church. Prior to the day, for the leaders, planning this seminar was a challenge, as there are so many directions we could take and so much that could be covered; for the youth it was a speculating time wondering what was it all about?
Finally the day arrived, when around thirty people, a mixture of youth and ‘slightly more experienced youth’ turned up for the event. The youth are to be commended for their efforts in arriving on time as the seminar started at 9:00am on “Sunday morning”! What does the word “ethics” mean? Ethics are principles, morals or values that we embrace in our day-to-day life. The basis of good ethics is built in the home, and this sets a solid foundation for others to be built upon. It was a one day only seminar and was divided into five sessions. Each session was taken by a different speaker. The topics addressed were:
- Session 1 “Home Ethics” – Lidia Voncina
- Session 2 “Job and Workplace Ethics” – Harold Kraus
- Session 3 “Lifelong Ethics” – Dorothy Ilic
- Session 4 “Networking Ethics” – Matthias Thiel
- Session 5 “Ethics in the Presence of God” – Joe Voncina
A couple of illustrations were presented by a number of people joining to create two families. One family portrayed true ethics within their home, having wonderful values displayed in their dealings with each other making it a very content and respectful Christian environment for all the occupants to live in; it was a place where many would delight to reside. In contrast, the other family had no respect towards each other or towards the things in their house. This family was very loud and boisterous, rude and disrespectful; this was a house where there were no rules and the members in return lived a very unhappy, selfish and unfulfilled life. At the end of the demonstration the question was asked: Do you feel etiquette in the home plays an important part in one’s life? The answer was an obvious yes! To the question: How can you make a difference in the world around you? Here are some of the thoughts expressed:
- With your character and your manners that you use in your life. But to have good manners, you also need the Holy Spirit.
- To do to others what you would have them do to you. Ensure the first impression is good as it will reflect upon ongoing manners.
- Small things, small courtesies, appreciation, kindness makes the world’s supply of happiness.
- By having Christian etiquette in the home first.
- I need to change myself and my attitude; then things will change around me
- Do my part first. If I can show love, keeping things orderly, it can start the rest of the family off.
After completion of the first two sessions, it was decided that a lunch break would be very welcomed, so a Mexican lunch was enjoyed by all. Then the other three sessions followed in the afternoon. A quick list of some of the points brought out during the presentations:
- Our goal is to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others.
- We are to have a vision of what success is like and make all efforts to reach it.
- Don’t be ashamed of who you are. Be honest with yourself; be positive and elevating.
- Christianity is not a shirt that we put on and take off; it’s a heart that wants to do God’s will.
- There must be a drive within to do right.
- True courtesy must be motivated by love.
- Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot.
- For complete happiness it is vital to apply the ‘Golden Rule’.
- Give God your heart. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”. Proverbs 23:7
- “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life” – Steve Jobs.
- “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou.
- In order to be successful, there needs to be a balanced life (spiritual, family, social, work, study, recreation).
- Take personal responsibility for own life.
- Look in the mirror and ask, “What message am I sending?”
- Keep focused and determined.
- Commonsense guidelines while using mobile phones or networking:
- Avoid calls while engaged in face-to-face conversation – if a must then ask permission of people with you.
- Do not take calls in middle of conversation, business/church meetings.
- When networking, never engage in bullying, teasing or arguing via social media.
- Never spread gossip or unkind things via web.
- Ask yourself: is there anyone that I would rather not see this post? If anyone comes to mind, then don’t post it on social media.
- Be careful not to overshare.
- Never use foul language, racial slurs or other offensive language on social networking sites.
- It is good to understand different personality traits. There are four major groups that people can be divided into. “DISC” which stands for Dominance (goal-driven, direct, competitive, “Just Do It” people); Influence (people person, talkative, spontaneous, “Have fun Doing It” people); Steadiness (stable, dependable, conservative, loyal, “Do It Together” people); and Compliance (careful, logical, organized, diplomatic, “Do It Right” people). Knowing about these categories helps to understand why certain people behave in a certain manner and how to be able to get along with them or work with them etc…
- It is important to be aware of God’s presence in His house.
- Be punctual.
- While in the presence of God, avoid anything that is disrespectful towards God such as whispering, drinking (even water), chewing, walking out during meetings, using electronic media inappropriately, sleeping, etc…
- Be clean – Do not leave rubbish behind (inside and outside).
- God may be calling you, but probably not on your cell phone – turn off your phones during worship.
- It’s time to let God do the talking; God is in His temple; no wi-fi, 4G or roaming needed.
I would like to share some of the thoughts expressed by attendees:
“This was a very good program. Personally I really enjoyed it. I think it was a great idea to talk about modern-day ethics, especially discussion about cell phones and how to use them properly. Many do not realise what they are doing is socially unacceptable and rude. We are always being watched especially in the presence of our God. Having proper manners in church is extremely important and everyone can always use a reminder on what is right and wrong.”
“The seminar was a great blessing. It made me think about some points in my life and plan some strategies that will help me and those around me be happier. Helped me understand some things from a different angle, in a different light.”
“Very interesting, I really enjoyed it.”
“The workshop was impressive. If possible next time include ethics involved between young people relationships.”
“What a wonderful day! I am training for my long hikes and was supposed to do my 30km hike today but came here instead. What a blessing! May the Lord be praised for all the people who put an effort in this program. We dealt with so many issues that are current and are a problem today amongst us. I just pray that we can all learn from it and take it to heart and through His strength change for the better. It was truly a blessing to be here today!”
“The seminar of today was really nice and useful. Good ethics at all times and in all places are important. I learned a lot in this seminar, so I want to say congratulations to all the teachers.”
“This seminar was quite engaging and fun and very easy to pay attention to. I really enjoyed the talks and really did learn a whole lot of new information. Thoroughly enjoyed it overall.”
“I enjoyed the seminar because it was fun and interesting. I liked the practical demonstrations, which help me to relate in a better way.”
“The seminar was really wonderful. It gave us lessons on how to have a proper decorum as Christians in our home, in the church, in the society or community where we live. But only few young people were present – this must be presented in a spiritual congress, because this is a matter of refining or polishing our characters.”
“Overall, the experience was a long one, however the message was great. The meetings were well organised and appropriate. The message was truly needed and it was an enjoyable day. Thanking all the organisation team. Oh, lunch was extremely Yummy!!!”
At the end of a very full-packed day there was a lot to take home, to think about and to chew on. The NSW Youth Department firstly thank the youth and the ‘young at heart’ for coming and supporting this event and pray that you all have been blessed by the experience, and not only blessed today, but that it will make a difference in each of your lives. Matthias, Chris and I would like to especially thank Harold Kraus, Dorothy Ilic and Joe Voncina for the hours they put into their workshops, for the help and support they gave us in this seminar. Thanks to all others who helped with lunch, the family illustrations and in different ways to make this seminar a success. For all that are interested, the next seminar to be held will be the “Communication Seminar” which will be held on the Sunday 26th October, 2014. This will be a MUST to attend, so mark your diaries now and hope to see you then!!! God bless, Lidia Voncina