Hi and Welcome to the A & J PEI Treasures E Jean Simpson Author Blog Post and Podcast. I’m your host, Jean coming to you from the beautiful Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada!! The blog post and podcast is an opinion piece and only reflects this author’s opinion and not that of any other entity. I hold no designations in politics, economics or medicine. I am retired from the mental health field and I am a humanitarian and speak from that viewpoint only. Whether you agree or not, at least I hope it makes you think. Today I speak of something that some people have a hard time understanding. The importance of morals and values cannot be underestimated. If you want to find out more, then stay tuned…!
Lately, I’ve had a great deal of trouble with my internet and my modem. I seem to continually have to fix them. I haven’t been able to get much of anything done. The Tech person more or less told me that there wasn’t much they could do about it. If I had a secure password…well, I should. We set it up. I put in the password, but there are several things that complicate this. I won’t go into them. I understand the way the modem works. Still things got wonky. 2 times later, they had to factory reset. Still not sure things are quite right. This brings me to the exploration of morals and values and how important they are to society. You see, without them, people steal, do harm and for the most part, do whatever they want without permission. They seem to live on the internet.
When it comes to ethical decision making, there are all sorts of articles on ethical decision making. https://www.toolshero.com/tag/ethical-decision-making/ this article from Toolshero.com talks a bit about the history and the steps involved in ethical decision making. They state that “good decisions are both effective and ethical”. The problem comes in when people have a poor moral compass. The Cambridge Dictionary https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/ethical has, as one of its definitions, “relating to beliefs about what is morally right and wrong”. Here is where things can be dicey. You see, there is sometimes a standard right and wrong. Things that society thinks about. One of those, for example, stealing is considered wrong in most circles. Taking credit for someone else’s work is wrong. Being kind to animals is right. If someone has a slightly messed up moral compass, they may find ways around this. How many of us have heard…such and such is a victimless crime. I found public drunkenness to be listed as one of those things. (https://www.mylawquestions.com/what-are-the-different-types-of-victimless-crimes.htm) There is no such thing as a victimless crime. For example, public drunkenness can sometimes lead to crimes. People can get hurt. We all pay the price for crime. Lost trust, lost money, lost life, higher taxes to pay for the system that deals with it. I go back to another example that isn’t quite the same arena, but, having applied for a credit card in the bank, they try to assure you that if it is misused, and you report it, they will reverse the charge. This may be true. Though an earlier blog post I discuss this more and there have been exceptions. However, some might stretch this a bit and call it a victimless crime. I would argue that the reason your bank charges aren’t getting lower is because they have to cover these charges somehow. We are paying for it. So, in that way if we deal with any bank, we are all victims of this crime. The same goes with shoplifting. We pay the price for it through higher costs at the check out. As we go up the scale of unethical decisions from public drunkenness to shoplifting and credit card fraud, you can see that there is a slippery slope. People make mistakes. They accidentally forget to do something or do something by accident. This happens. Correct the harm and move on. When someone keeps making the same unethical decisions and keeps repeating the same patterns, this is a habit. They need help to break the cycle. The sooner the cycle is broken the better for all of society and the person who is involved in this behaviour.
Potter Stewart is quoted as having said, “Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do.” This shows that ethics and being ethical is not easy. It is something that you have to spend time with. It is not always easy to figure out what is right to do and what is not right to do. Sometimes it is hard to know what is right. It depends on the situation. Another way to phrase this that might be easier to apply to situations is Ethics is knowing the difference between yes, you are capable of doing it and no you should not do it as it is not right. Now, here is where the problem starts. Society has various groups. Some have difficulty with maintaining a moral compass. All society and it’s set up is based on thinking people have a moral compass. The Cambridge Dictionary (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/moral-compass) defines moral compass as more or less the feeling that tells you what is right and what is wrong. This is something that appears to be a difficulty for some. Good news is that it is something that can be taught. https://www.armyandnavyacademy.org/blog/theres-a-critical-need-to-build-a-moral-compass-in-our-teens-heres-how/ the article from armyandnavyacademy.org describes ways on helping your child/teen develop a moral compass. Most important, if you want to raise kids with a good moral compass, you must also model this behavior yourself. In other words, if we want a better society, it has to start with us. This is the same viewpoint I have given on other things. If you want a better world, you need to start making your own corner of the world a better place.
I think it is most important to understand that when you aren’t sure whether an action is ethical or not, one must follow the wisdom of the following quote: “Ethical decisions ensure that everyone’s best interests are protected. When in doubt, don’t.” – Harvey Mackay. Sometimes, when you are not sure what you are doing is right, or there is some reason to question it, like comments and such, it might be a good idea to stop what you are doing. Then re-evaluate why you are doing it. Are you doing harm? Is someone seriously upset by your actions? This isn’t always the only way to determine things. However, when unsure, it might be good to stop and find someone you trust and talk it out with them. Get their viewpoint on it. You need to be sure it is someone you know who has a good moral compass. Someone who would be honest with you. Someone that you know won’t just let you go ahead and make a mess of things or mess up your life or someone else’s. It’s ok to ask for help if you aren’t sure what you are doing is right.
Ethics has been around for a long time. As early as the time of Aristotle it was pointed out and he is credited with stating, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” It is a concept that has been discussed in business, mental health, medical system and pretty much every profession has some sort of code of ethics. As an example, we start with the very basic business premise that you don’t rip off your customers. You provide honest service. Kerry Stokes has been credited with saying, “Ethics or simple honesty is the building blocks upon which our whole society is based, and business is a part of our society, and it’s integral to the practice of being able to conduct business, that you have a set of honest standards.” It is acknowledged to be incredibly important to successful business enterprises. It is preached in the pulpits of churches. If we want a successful society, we need to provide a good grounding in ethics and develop moral compasses or we will fall into decay. It is something that anyone can benefit from having good training in. As I have been known to say, my mother taught me right from wrong. She set the ground work for what followed. It is never too late to work toward developing a good moral compass. It is teachable, it can be learned. It is real. It is part of being real. It’s part of real life. If you want to be able to move forward into a positive life, it is important to learn. If you do not learn these things…it can develop into criminal behaviour. It is important to practice using a moral compass to develop a strong one.
Now that I have said it can be taught and people can learn to develop a moral compass, I’ve started to look. There do seem to be exercises. Some churches have the resources and schools. There are resources online. I have to be honest about that, make sure to find good resources in this important area. I would recommend checking with a church, school or library first. So, if you are interested, you can contact your local church or school to find the resources that will fit for your particular needs. Unless you have a good moral compass, you could be misled. I am only providing one simple page I found for an example of moral compass exercises. It does not mean I like it or dislike it…it was a quick one pager to give you a small idea of what sorts of things can be useful for moral compass exercises (https://growingleaders.com/free-resources/building-values-and-ethics/). It might not necessarily fit for your situation.
In this short blog post and podcast, I briefly explain that society can benefit from people being trained to recognize right from wrong. Resources are available if you aren’t sure. Make sure to use the right resources. Someone who continually gives you answers that get you in trouble is likely not the best person to try to get help from. If they are getting you in trouble, they likely don’t have a good moral compass. Whether you agree with me or not, I hope it made you think.
Thanks for listening to my podcast and/or reading my blog post and thanks for your interest in A & J PEI Treasures!
Keep watching for more e-books and more formats! We’re always working on something. Thank you! The podcast that matches this blog post can be found on Anchor FM: https://anchor.fm/a–j-pei-treasures/episodes/Morals-and-Values-Societys-Glue-e1najij
Morals and Values: Society’s Glue – E Jean Simpson, BEd, BA, MA Author A & J PEI Treasures
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