In our last post we started to look at character and its connection to morality. This post will take us another step closer into the relationship between character and morality:
So what is morality?
Is it a code of ethics?
Is it a set of rules or a set of expectations?
Does it require human intelligence in order to relate to its meaning?
If it’s a uniquely human attribute, is it something that we have collectively defined through an evolutionary process? Does culture play a role in how it’s derived?
If so which culture and how?
What about people who are supposedly devoid of any sense of morality such as the character ‘Dr. Hannibal Lector’, I.E. ‘Silence of The Lambs’? Is it possible that some people have no conscience?
We can make suppositions and conjecture but who really and truly knows the answers to these questions?
God does but I certainly don’t!
So in my simple mind, I believe we all have an internal compass, which tells us how to differentiate between right from wrong. I believe we have a mind that has a conscience so we can understand concepts such as fairness, right, wrong, and as such we can accept more complex concepts such as moral reasoning, empathy, and compassion.
And since we previously established that all behavior is learned behavior and that children learn from older persons (typically adults and that adults are role models regardless of whether they wish to be); we now will look at three questions we previously asked about our adult responsibilities:
- What are my actions and words conveying to the children in my world?
- What is the basis for where I derive my sense of morality?
- Am I aware of my influence?
Lets look at each question separately, then collectively. These keys are important to realize if we are going to become effective at influencing our children. The items below are listed in direct correction to the questions asked above. So for example,
- What are my actions and words conveying to the children in my world? – I need to know my actions and my words have meaning. What I say will be remembered for short while but what I do will have a more profound and longer lasting impact.
- What is the basis for where I derive my sense of morality? – I must determine a source for my beliefs and that source must be greater than myself (because I only know what I was told by someone else).
- Am I aware of my influence? – I must recognize that there is a connection between my world and me so that my presence and interaction within my world makes a difference.
Since we learn from one another, and our children look to us for direction it is important we examine what we are teaching them about morality and character. All too often we allow the hurried pace of life to distract us from realizing we have a limited window of time to influence our children. But if we don’t teach them, if we abdicate our responsibilities to teach them, we are leaving them to be instructed by other influences that may not share our values.
In my next post I will go into more detail about the above 3 points.
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Be blessed and have a great day!