After studying the attitude of Nigerians for years now as part of my nation-building work, I wrote an article titled “Core Values: The Missing Ingredient”. In that article, I posited that:
“I am fully persuaded that our greatest need is for a critical mass of citizens to adopt, practice, teach and inspire these values in and through their lives. In doing so, we do not only provide the much needed foundation for credible leadership but more than that, we will see a significant rise in credible leadership at all levels of governance and in all sectors (the home, school, place of worship, workplace) of our nation.”
In his book, “The Heart of America: Ten Core Values That Make Our Country Great”, Bill Halamandaris listed ten core values that built America. Ten values with proven ability to build a world superpower:
Compassion Opportunity Responsibility Equality
Valour Ambition Liberty Unity Enterprise Spirituality
For the month of December, my focus will be on the tenth and last core value – Spirituality. You can read about the nine values – Compassion, Opportunity, Responsibility, Equality, Valour, Ambition, Liberty, Unity and Enterprise here.
What is Spirituality?
Spirituality means the state, quality, manner or fact of being spiritual. It is about our faith in God, His purpose for our nation, His potential sown into us and His enabling to see us exhibit these. I believe this is the mother of all core values because out of this value comes all the other core values. As a result, the transformation of the thoughts, words and actions through the core values is initiated by this value.
The primary role of this value is the emphasis it places on others rather than on ourselves, starting with the aim to glorify God in all we do for Him and for others (His people). It goes further to state that we, not only our leaders, are accountable to God for what we do with our nation, with the talents, resources and blessings He has endowed us with, individually and as a nation. This value also provides the freedom and the boundaries within which the other values operate.
Our appreciation of the role of spirituality is evident in our national pledge where we call on God to help us keep our pledge – “So help me God” – and in the second stanza of our national anthem where we again call on God to direct us, our leaders and youths. However, Nigerians are yet to fully go beyond symbols of spirituality, which also includes our passion for regular attendance of churches and mosques meetings, to a lifestyle of spirituality.
What benefits does this value bring to nation-building?
To see this value in action, we will look at it from its association with the other nation-building core values.
Compassion: That ability to go beyond pity and connect to alleviate the suffering of someone in pain cannot be taught but only gained through our growth in spirituality.
Opportunity: Through true spirituality, we attain a mindset that sees opportunities where most see problems. We would have already believed in a God of unlimited possibilities and that inspires us to think possibilities.
Responsibility: While most are blaming past and present leaders for our problem as a country, through spirituality we would accept responsibility for the past, repent from it (even when we were not directly involved) and take ownership for the future.
Equality: Spirituality reminds us that we are all equal in value before God and this mindset enables us treat people of different classes with the same value.
Valour: A person with spirituality as a value will be known to people far and near as a person of courage. Courage to stand up and speak out against injustice, launch initiatives, serve the vulnerable and high risk people, put oneself forward to lead, etc.
Ambition: The ability to create and believe in big dreams comes from spirituality.
Liberty: True spirituality first liberates our minds and then enables us to think, speak and act in liberty. It also ensures we seek the liberty of others.
Unity: Spirituality teaches us that the real power is not in individuality but in commUNITY. It teaches us that we can do almost anything if we unite.
Enterprise: The ability and the willingness to innovate, try new approaches, be tenacious, diligent and persistent whilst consistently delivering excellence is borne of the value of spirituality. It is a value that instils the can-do spirit but also enables us stay the course no matter the opposition and number of times we fail.
Truly, and as stated earlier, spirituality is the mother of all values.
How do we develop Spirituality as a core value?
Through study: We must consistently read stories of citizens of our nation and those of developed nations whose lives expressed spirituality as a core value, to gain practical steps to put into practice. It is essential to add that we must ensure we are in an environment (circle of influence) of people living out this value because their model (example) will shape us.
Our faith books are also key study tools as long as we read them with the mindset that spirituality is about serving God and others.
Through Practice: We need to put into practice what we’ve learnt about spirituality because our understanding will grow as we practice. As our understanding grows, our exhibition of this value will be stronger and more visible to others.
Through Teaching: We have a duty to teach others about this value and we do so through our communication, our modelling and our mentoring. We do this to raise the critical mass of citizens with the right mindset and core values actively participating in efforts to build a developed Nigeria.
Many will be converted into nation-building by our teaching of the core values particularly through our modelling (our example).
As we conclude our 10 months study of the 10 core values, I quote Bill Halamandaris, “Values are not hereditary. Great ideals do not live in the hearts and minds of men simple because they are right. They must be taught. They must be learned and lived”. This, every Nigerian should commit to do. The initial stage may be challenging but constant and deliberate efforts will see us convert these values into habits – way of life – keeping in mind why we are building our nation.
So, what is your personal development plan to adopt and practice these 10 nation-building values?