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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

WHO IS TEACHING MORALITY?

BRYCE ON MORALITY

- And why it is important to our survival.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
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One of the most important pieces of legislation passed by our first Congress in 1789 was the Northwest Ordinance. This has long been forgotten by the American public, but the original intent was to define the terms by which America would expand and admit states from that area (the lands surrounding the Great Lakes). An important part of the legislation was Article 3 which stated: "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

In other words, our founding fathers saw the necessity to teach knowledge, religion, and morality in the schools, and for many years the schools did so. Even well into the 20th century, public schools were used to provide religious instruction albeit it was not compulsory and conducted after normal school hours. Aside from this, schools used to teach general religious concepts, such as one divine entity, and moralistic concepts of right and wrong. This was all abandoned in public schools over the last fifty years. To the founding fathers, religion and morality were recognized as a requirement for good government and citizenship. Excluding them from public schools eliminated the means to teach such concepts in a uniform manner. Now such teachings defaulted to other entities:

PARENTS - due to the economic pressures of today, more and more are taking a "hands off" approach to teaching morality and religion to their offspring, thereby allowing them to default the responsibility to others. Many simply do not grasp the significance of it.

SCHOOLS - still have a role to play, but mostly on issues relating to cheating, plagiarism, and general conduct (fighting, tardiness, absenteeism). Formal training on morality is certainly not in the mix. Consider this, reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag is now considered optional in many schools.

COMPANIES - establish codes of conduct, but somehow unethical practices still surface in the cut-throat world of business. Too often, companies fail to practice what they preach.

NONPROFITS - youth sports and scouting programs were originally designed to teach such things as citizenship and "fair play." Today, pledging to the flag is a rarity in such institutions. Religious and fraternal organizations also have a role to play, as such organizations were designed to promote morality. However, most have evolved into nothing but social clubs, thereby voiding their effect on the public.

CHURCH - attendance at church services dropped over the last fifty years, but appears to have stabilized, particularly as the Baby Boomers grow older. Gallup recently reported New England and the Northwest are now considered the most non-religious states in the country (with the South being the most religious). It's hard to believe New England, the birthplace of many of our founding fathers, has retreated on religion.

HOLLYWOOD - in the absence of everything else, our youth learn morality and religion from the media as delivered through technology. If morality and religion is lampooned, youth will take note and likely follow suit. It is rather sad when Hollywood has more sway in influencing children than their own parents.

Let us be clear on what is meant by teaching morality, the differences between right and wrong: Teaching the Golden Rule ("do unto others as they would do unto you") causes people to respect the rights of others. An appreciation for the concept of "property" discourages theft and promotes the concepts of earning and saving. Respect for parents, elders, and government promotes social harmony. Understanding the necessity of government and law promotes tranquility. Honesty promotes moral rectitude and social stability. And philanthropy promotes empathy for our fellow man.

There are many such moralistic lessons which are no longer taught in public schools a la the Northwest Ordinance. Consequently, there is no uniformity in the moral fiber of the country and a general deterioration in our social mores.

Any institution that teaches uniform morality should be actively supported. If schools can no longer teach it, and parents avoid it, one must wonder who is teaching it. The answer is obvious, it has defaulted to the corruption of Hollywood who answers more to the mighty dollar than their conscience. Who should we turn to? Our government? Hardly. Their business is to tend to the administration of the land, not preach dogma. What is needed is a new type of delivery system to teach moral values. I am not sure what this vehicle should be; perhaps it should be special instruction in the form of a training program or text. Whatever it is, something is desperately needed to prevent the country from deteriorating further.

FOOTNOTE: I am currently working on a training program to teach uniform Morality, suitable for use in companies, schools, and other institutions. If you would like to know more or to follow my developments, please send me an e-mail: timb001@phmainstreet.com

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com
For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com


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