Do what you want?

Living an ethical life isn’t easy. It’s a lot easier to judge others harshly than to be harsh with our own actions.

These are not cop-outs, though. These statements should not be used as justification for not trying your absolute best at all times – it’s just important to recognize that we all falter. What’s that common phrase from George Herbert’s original: “Whose house is of glass, must not throw stones at another.”…? However, does that mean we should also ignore or accept other people’s bad behavior? A couple articles by Michael Josephson (famous for Character Counts©) reminded me that the road of ethical behavior is not easy, which is precisely why it’s an admirable goal to shoot for.

So, do we just do whatever we want? I believe that we all share a core set of values, across cultures, religions and nations that are based on mutual respect, trust, caring, responsibility, fairness and helping our community (local and global). By asking ourselves questions about our own behavior centered on those core values we can guide ourselves to do what is right… which, like it or not, is not always doing just what you want but considering others, as well.

What do you use as a guide for doing the right thing?

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2 thoughts on “Do what you want?

  1. Stacey

    What do you think about making ethics a subject in school starting with second or third grade? I had a conversation with a client of mine recently about this.

    Reply
  2. jlevno Post author

    Hi Stacey! It’s never too early to model and teach concepts of ‘good’/ethical behavior but teaching ethics to 2nd and 3rd graders needs to be done with recognition of their cognitive readiness level. Even high school and middle school kids have difficulty with the cognitive concepts involved in ethical dilemmas and ethical decision-making. Younger ones usually benefit from clear, concrete guidelines that create a safe environment within which to explore interpersonal/social interaction but ethics as a subject in school for that age group may be a bit of a stretch.

    Reply

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