The decline of our moral compass and sense of social responsibility has happened to a great degree in less than one generation. Yes, we have made big strides in many fields of technology, science, and medicine. But it is by no accident that in the world of today we have lost our moral compass, created bullies across the board in families and countries, and ripped out successful methods of consequences for inhuman behavior in order to live in a peaceful world. Sometimes we even act like schizophrenic beings, saying one things, then doing another, living in that pretend world of our own fantasy. For example, our driving skills might be more like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rather than respecting our own life or the lives of the people around us; or our language might sound more than “freakin” tough, while in the same breath we profess our love of God or others; or we have one set of rules for one situation, then not apply the same rules we have for others to ourselves. The remedy to all of the ills we see in the world today is in resurrecting moral fortitude, mutual respect, social responsibility, and oh yes, God and his Word. Are you still reading? Trying to live in a world without God is what has caused these problems in the first place.
In 1993, I was on the Massachusetts Education Reform Act Council serving as co-chairperson with the elementary school principal, in the town where I lived. I was voted in by the town voters because the stand I took was based on bringing values and virtues into the classroom. I had just published “The Virtue of Virtues,” by Dorrance Publishers (Amazon.com), which was written for Catholic CCD programs. I wanted more moral values to be taught to our students at an early age. The decline of our moral compass and sense of social responsibility has happened in less than one generation.
In the 1950′s, television and movie had strict codes on what could be seen and what could be heard. Actors could not even say the word “pregnant,” which is why James Stewart in “It’s A Wonderful Life,” refers to his screen wife, Donna Reed, as “being on the nest.” There always was the darker side of life, we just did not talk about them. However, I also see that the more we shine the light of our minds to dark things, the more they happen. It’s like promoting the very way most of us do not want to live, murdering, lying, cheating, stealing and the whole subculture lifestyle.
We have come a long way since then, with realism and intensity, and not always for the better. Senseless violence, vulgar and obscene language is everywhere. Horror shows get more horrific. The broadcasting of today’s wars places us right on the battlefield.
We have desensitized ourselves to such a degree that the sight of blood no longer registers with us. It seems extreme gore is required to make the point and get higher ratings.
The reason I ran for that town seat was because I knew it would take less than a generation for the trickle down effect to harden hearts, and create a society that is proud to be rude, crass, promiscuous, vulgar, and extreme in all (lack of) respects. I wasn’t wrong.
It has happened. It might have happend anyway. But I do not think so. There is more than one way to think. There is more than my way, and more than your way to think. My ego disagrees, but diversity is necessary if we are to grow in the direction that we want to, and to understand each other. But the tolerance of bullies, lack of common sense, and lack of common courtesy, lack of respect for the laws of this country and every other country, and lack of respect of God and his laws must be dealt with head on if we are to advance as a society.
It is by no accident we find ourselves with grown adults and young people being victims of bullying, or being bullies themselves. What did we expect? Yesterday my husband and I had a taxi driver get extremely angry at us because we had already paid before leaving, the full round trip price we had agreed upon, that my husband and I immediately went to the police department for fear of retaliation by this loud, obnoxious bully, who now knows where we live. We need to teach our young people that it important to stand up to bullies, even if it is not in our gentle nature to do so. We need to stand up for truth, integrity, honesty, in the face of intimidation and threats.
It is important to mention that we do not need to match the intensity, wrath or negative emotional feeling of the bully. We can stand our own ground with dignity and calm resolve. It is a decision we make on how we want to conduct our lives. Stay cool.
What we focus on grows. That’s the Law of Attraction. It NEVER fails.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. We cannot take in habitual violence and expect a peaceful results. We cannot plant tomato seeds and grow corn from the same seed. We also cannot say we stand for peace and remain silent when we see injustice and bullying. That would be inconsistent to natural law.
We cannot make our decisions based on fear. No matter what age we are, we need to base our decisions on integrity, honor and mutual respect.
I also took a week-long workshop about 18 years ago on the creation of the world. It was at a Christian retreat house. I expected the speakers to tell us that there was a definite good and a definite evil. I was surprised to hear them say that evil is the absense of good, not a “thing” all by itself. They said if enough good people to do nothing, what you get is evil.
I believe this is true, and it applies to the world today in many situations. It applies to all of us good people, who from time to time, for whatever reason, choose to do nothing when something needs to be done.
The reason many of us choose to do nothing is because of the backlash and retribution that comes along with speaking up for justice. In the case of the deaths of three high school students this year, students who knew the only suspect told the media he was bullied. If students knew it, teachers knew it. What happens to the student or teacher who reports wrong-doing? What happens to the person being bullied? What happend to the bully? If these questions all have the same answer, then injustice is being done.
With zero tolerance rules, everyone gets punished. In a physical fight, it does not matter who starts the altercation. Everyone gets punished. The victim gets punished twice. We adults need to take a closer look at the moral decisions and the ramifications for them. Students need better tools to learn how to cope, with lessons that do not just come from home. Many students come from broken homes and live in troubled neighborhoods with perilous problems daily.
We teach tolerance, but we should not be tolerant of bullies. We need to be tolerant of all people, but not all actions. Actions have consequences, either for good or bad. We need better parenting skills to replace harmful parenting skills. Teachers need better problem solving skills in the classroom and on school property that are supported by school administration.
However, this only scratches the surface. We also need to teach social responsibility in action, everyday, in every home, school, employment and every area of life. Mutual respect fosters social graces.
We need to teach social responsibility by getting to the bottom of each situation. Glossing things over by telling students to work things out on their own is a cop out by irresponsible adults. Group punishments is also a cop out by teachers and coaches. It is a way for adults to not get involved when they should. All group punishments do to a class or a team, is to let the offender know that if he or she messes up, everyone will have to pay the price.
I’d like to share a comment here from the previous posting. This teacher today is having her junior and high school students identify issues or situations that matter to them, and have them pledge to stand up in those cases. Not only that, the students will be working in groups including teachers and the principal. Everyone in the groups will be signing their pledges. Planning ahead for probable real life scenarios is a successful tool students will feel empowered to use, the same way students will know what to do for fire drills in school. It is a practiced answer that works.
I hope teachers in all schools hold bullying practice sessions to better equip students, to be able to stand up for themselves, and to stand up for others. Knowledge is power.
The other reason I got on that board way back then, was to support teaching character development in our schools. Teaching ethics, morals, virtues is responsible. It is the foundation of building character. Leaders young and old do not cower to fear of retaliation, from any source.
The only way to deal with the bully, is to stand up to the bully. Bullies do not go away. They just change their prey. We need to teach inner strength to speak up for those who cannot.
I believe I am my brother keeper, and my sister’s keeper. We need to take care of each other. We need to report injustice. If we good people do or say nothing when something needs to be said, we are doing evil.