Introduction I would not have believed you two years ago if you told me an individual’s single decision could have such a profound effect on not only their lives but that of their family, their employer, the economy and even the world. The life we lead and the choices we make affect more than ourselves, as evident with the current economic turmoil we are in today. If a consumer would not have exaggerated their income to qualify for a mortgage they knew they would not be able to afford.
If the mortgage lender would have verified the information on the application and if they found inaccuracy they would have rejected the loan instead of looking the other way; would our nation’s economy be in the situation it is today? Personal ethics, values, morals; however you wish to describe them, play a role in every single decision we make; we want others to believe we are a good person, someone that can be trusted. But as we are painfully aware not everyone has a moral compass by which they live.
I believe that we are strongly influenced by our environment; I was raised by two loving parents who taught me right from wrong. I was raised Catholic and attended church every week; I was an altar boy and lector for our church; I had a positive relationship with all the clergy members I encountered and believe this too is part of my moral fiber. Although not a practicing Catholic, I do pray every day and believe in God and that we will ultimately be held responsible for our actions. Unfortunately only 63% of American children grow up with both biological parents according to a report conducted by The State of our Unions (2007).
A great number of children are being raised by a single parent who themselves were raised by a single parent. I believe that a lack of a two parent household reflects the current moral climate we are in today. I will concede the fact though that just because a child is raised by a single parent does not mean that the child will lack values or morals; I have encountered several children raised by both parents that have poor social values and make poor decisions and just don’t seem to learn from them.
Just recently my wife and I had dinner out and I was debating between several different wines. The server asked if I would like a sample of one of the wines to help me make my decision. I accepted the offer and enjoyed the wine so much I had two glasses of it. When I received the bill at the end of the dinner I noticed that our server only wrung up the wine sample which was at no cost and never charged me for the two glasses of wine. I told our server she had forgotten to charge me for the two glasses of wine; she seemed quite shocked and said “Oh you’re honest”.
I jokingly told her that two glasses of wine wasn’t worth burning in hell for; I gathered from her reaction that most of her customers would never have said anything. I recently recounted my experience at the restaurant to friends and colleagues and I was quite surprised to learn that the majority of them said they would not have said anything; they would have paid the bill and left. I then recounted an experience I had with The Home Depot; I purchased a John Deere riding tractor several years ago while living in Green Bay.
Two weeks later I received a voice mail from The Home Depot stating that they would like me to come in and pick up my tractor since it was the end of the season and they would be moving them into storage. I was quite shocked when I received the call since I took the tractor home the day I purchased it; apparently the employee that assisted me with the tractor never completed the paperwork that noted I had already taken delivery of the tractor.
When I recounted this story almost all of the people said they would have told The Home Depot of the error. The consensus I gathered from both scenarios is that the tractor’s value was almost $1700. 00 where as the price of two glasses of wine was about $15. 00. For many it seems morality has a price limit. I recently took my stepdaughter shopping; she wanted to pick up a gift for a friend who had driven her to the airport. Samantha picked out a necklace for her friend and also found a couple of pairs of earrings for herself.
Samantha and I met my wife for dinner after shopping and while showing my wife what she purchased for her friend she noticed that she was not charged for a pair of the earrings. She asked my wife and I what she should do, and I used this opportunity as a teaching moment and asked her what she thought she should do. She said she didn’t know, and I told her that she was an adult and although being an adult is not always easy that she would have to make her own decision and live with the consequences. Samantha decided she would return to the store and inform them of the error and pay for the pair of earrings.
I was proud she had came to her decision but hope that the next time this happened that she would not have to ask for advice and would ultimately do the right thing Conclusion I have been instilled with what I feel is great moral character. I feel my morality is a direct reflection of the environment in which I was raised and I thank my parents, teachers, family and friends for shaping the man I am today. I wish everyone could have had the fortunate experience I had growing up; I believe that the world would be a much better place to live if we all had a working moral compass.