Wednesday, December 3, 2008

No stinkin' wonder!

No matter how you slice it, parents and teachers are the custodians of our future. We set up our future (for our children) by the decisions we make today and how we train our children for tomorrow. In effect, our children become a reflection of what we believe and how we act.

That's why this report card from the Josephson Institute is depressing. Here is their introductory paragraph:

Josephson Institute's 2008 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth is based on a survey of nearly 30,000 students in high schools across the U.S. The results paint a troubling picture of our future politicians and parents, cops and corporate executives, and journalists and generals.

I'll let you click on the link to get the actual numbers, but just note that dishonesty among students is rampant! Furthermore, in some categories, students of private religious schools are more likely to be dishonest than their classmates in non-religious schools! That's enough to set me on a huge tangent--another subject for another day.

How about that! No wonder our markets are going down the porcelain Jacuzzi. If our children reflect our values, we are seeing the results of our way of doing things. As our financial markets are reeling due to rampant dishonesty, we are raising children that will continue our dubious legacy. It's a frightening look at what we will be facing in our future. These are our future leaders, the advisors to our future leaders, and those who will hold our future leaders accountable.

1 Corinthians 1:18 says:

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

It seems that the more we abandon Biblical principles of morality, honesty and character, the faster we head to into a future we may not be prepared for.*

*Note that I refer to the Biblical principles themselves. I mean actually following the principles. The study underlines what should be obvious. Sending our kids to a religious school does nothing to combat the principles they are learning from us.


Anthony Bass said...

Lawyer with a gun - I have a question for you. Where is the disconnect here? Have parents simply forsaken reason and their values, or did they not receive the ability to reason and godly values from their parents?

Lawyer said...


You may be in a better position to answer that because you deal with youth every day. My fear is that the answer may be a combination of both of your points, but not in the stark black and white. If you review the myriad of business/workplace ethics and honesty surveys that have been conducted, they show a slide toward adult dishonesty, even in minor day to day situations. I imagine most people will not have a problem with what they would consider “huge” lies. However, how do we do with daily compromises? How do we handle telephone calls we do not want to take? Do we lie to get out of sticky situations? Do we compromise our principles to save our hides or make ourselves look better? How well acquainted are we with “the little white lie?”

As a parent, I try to make sure that I not only teach my children right from wrong, but also teach them the principles behind the decision. That way, they are better equipped to make right decisions next time. How badly do I compromise that lesson when I break a promise to my children? Do they listen when I tell someone that I am happy to see them, all the while knowing they have heard me say I can’t stand the sight of that person?

Am I exaggerating? I don’t know. But I do know that daily, I model ethics and character for my children, whether good or bad. While I may speak of high moral points, my actions in the smaller more common interactions may be undermining all of that. And ultimately, my actions are what they will likely remember in the end.