Monday, July 16, 2007

Right and Wrong

Are we born with different levels of a conscience or is it a learned behavior? As you look at the many issues that effect children and their response to life, you find that each child has an ability at some point to comprehend and reiterate in a behavior that is both expected and varied in reaction. Our awareness of acceptable behavior in the family and community lay a foundation for which ethics grows. I questioned if you had never seen right, would you know what is wrong? Then again if you never saw a wrong, would you believe your existence was all right?

Memories are little released life rafts, part of our selective memory, a balance of positive and negative that gives us the strength to continue on a positive path or unfortunately a repetitive path of destruction. I find that there must have been little balance for me before the age of ten, as those years are draped with a curtain of darkness with very few memories surfacing. Personality does play a big part as does the absorption of our surroundings, the average child will indeed try to emulate the behavior of adults. If the statement is all so true, then each child in a less then positive situation would react the same way. I find this to be so far from the truth. The moral behavior based on right and wrong and what is acceptable in society would be the guide lines for choices. I do believe instinct is naturally instilled an as we age we fight the natural instinct of right and wrong. It is as simple as the emotion bases feelings we experience on a daily basis, not as much as a conscience as I believe most would like to believe, but a deeper sense of what feels good
and what feels bad.

If you place your hand to close to a fire, soon you will pull away as your reaction to stay is to get burned. One of the most common reactions in a child that doesn’t feel comfortable in their surroundings is to “runaway” . Unfortunately this is not always an option, as what is the safe alternative to the negative source. For those who are willing to reach out in their youth, I believe the community should offer more youth programs
that are strong in the lessons of acceptable communities moral code.
Responsibility for our youth has lapsed over the years, the media does not hold their reporting to high standards and the more negative the behavior of sports players andmovie stars, singers etc the more attention they receive. The weaker standards of the community is like a woven blanket with many holes. Who catches those falling through, guides them and gives them an alternative? We cannot teach ethics nor rebuild character, but with proper guidance I believe we can give opportunities to those who know they are in a negative situation and are struggling to survive. Many will say it’s not the community nor the schools responsibility to provide a curriculum that provides lessons of moral conduct, then at least we should be able to provide a safe and warm place for children to turn. I repeat my fathers words as words of failure “ do as I say, not as I do”. For children overwhelming will do as they see. If as adults we fail to be responsible,what message do we send our children?
I have always thought it to be a blessing to be the fourth child in my family neither privileged as the baby nor that as the eldest, I found that I stood in a position where I could view all around me, the consequences of action. In some instances I felt as I knew the outcome, I also knew how to respond. There are two ways to in code a moral conduct , through fear or love. Both very strong methods that provide for various outcomes. Every child that survives the lessons of childhood will become and adult to pass on the same lessons. It is not in the preaching of the words of the Lord, but in living the words of the Lord. Even in the most perfect of worlds we will find people are different and will react differently to a situation.....yet it is not hopeless for if one child finds a role model, someone they can look up to and emulate then indeed all is not hopeless.
I remember when I signed up for dental school, it was all because of the way one woman spoke to me, each visit to the dentist office she smiled and had a glow about her... I so at that time of my life wanted to be just like her. I don’t think I was much different then most teenagers, they are all looking up to and adult as a role model..... are we providing
enough positive role models?
There are many good youth groups out there, and they can only do so much. It is indeed true that the children of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. Support your local youth groups or consider a few listed below. Inner city has several youth groups, but rural areas largely go unnoticed, there are many problems that are unique to rural areas, Isolation, no public transporatation. Even more importantly then money is time. If a youth group is not in your area consider writing your congress and reaching out to make a difference in your community... one child is indeed worth it.
Or better yet reach out through the many mentor groups and help youth stay on track, you can be the role model that makes a difference. So many children reaching out will end up in the street or worse yet in the wrong hands... take the time to listen. It goes a whole lot further then talk.
I say unto the children, if ye need run, run to my arms.

1 comment:

Matty said...

A wonderful post. Very thought-provoking. We have a real need for mentors in our society. For boys and girls.
I believe that guilt or conscience is something we learn before the age of 6...right or wrong. If you grew up in the Catholic church, well, it was instilled in you.
Children who are brought up to believe that they can do no wrong...'do wrong'.....if they are taught to be selfish and self-centered,,then they are! We do teach by example.
A Tibetan monk once said....."Give me your children till they are 6.....then do what you will....but you will never change my teaching."
I believe that!
And I also believe the saying,,,,that it takes 2 people to have a child, but it takes a village to bring that child up!

I remember one year when I asked my son to make a list of what he would like for Christmas, I cried when I received his list. I had told him to list 10 things he would like and if he got 2 of those things, well he was very lucky, because Santa had so many kids to bring gifts to.
My son who was 7 had written, Dear Santa, this Christmas I don't want any toys. Could I please have a dad....a real dad like Little Joe on House on the Prairie?
Yes, that broke my heart, and no, Santa couldn't bring him what he wanted.
The next year he wrote to Santa again and said, I still want a dad...and I don't mind if he's black like Bill Cosby!

Yes, I have kept those notes...and I tried in every way possible to give both my sons quality time....but there is no way I could make up for a father figure. Being a divorced single working parent at the time was difficult enough. It would have been nice if I had gotten support from the community. At that time there was very little available. In order to apply for the 'Big Brother' program you had to be on a waiting list of more than a year. Boys need a male mentor to show them how to be good men, good fathers and good husbands.

My son(who wrote those notes to Santa) today is 30 and he's a wonderful mentor to his nephew and niece. My other son 33 has problems and he regrets that he didn't have a father in his life.

Both sons raised in the same home, by me...but yet they are as different as day and night. What you teach your children has a large impact on them....but genetics plays a part as well.