The Childrens Society suggests that children are not learning good moral values because today's adults are such poor role models
"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. " Chief Seattle, 1854
Values for the Next 100 Years
What would a people need to survive the next 100 years?
This question was posed to me a number of years ago by a Native American Elder. If you had a village of 100 people what skills would they need to have to survive. Not just the skills of medicine and technology but the personal skills such as commitment, integrity, honor and the like.
This question sent me on a quest to see who even knew what those words mean in our "self" society. I asked teachers to ask their students, I challenged friends and associates. People could not define those words. They could not put a finger on the meanings. If they could not define them how could they live them?
We hear daily comments like "well if my marriage doesn't work out I will get a divorce" or parents admonish their children not to lie while they cheat the government on their taxes. This is not new knowledge it has been happening and has been talked about. It is knowledge not addressed and as such it grows as if it is okay to have these thoughts and ideas. A man says to a woman "I love you" but what does that mean -- the same person loves sports, ice cream and money. We promise to love, honor and cherish until death do us part yet the divorce rate continues to grow. In fact, nationally, there were about 4.2 divorces for every thousand people in 1998, according to federal figures for 1998.
What does commitment mean? In Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary the second definition of commitment is as follows: "a: an agreement or pledge to do something in the future; especially: an engagement to assume a financial obligation at a future date b: something pledged c: the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled "
The Cambridge Dictionary says: "to promise or give (your loyalty or money) to a particular principle, person or plan of action"
In 1828 the Webster's definition included the following wording: "The act of pledging or engaging"
Such a little thing the change is! We go from pledging or engaging as in pledging oneís self to a cause or marriage to the more modern of being obligated or emotionally impelled. Not that it says anything differently in a literal translation just a change in the intent between 1828 and today. The connotation changes as the values of the people change. Where once a commitment meant to make a promise never intended to be broken we now hear "if it does not work out I will get a divorce".
How about honor then? When you die what do you really get to take with you? A man's word, his honor, and his works are what he is remembered by. What is honor? In the 13th century according to Webster it meant "good name or public esteem" his reputation, and for a woman it meant her chastity and purity. It also meant: "8 a: a keen sense of ethical conduct: INTEGRITY b: one's word given as a guarantee of performance" synonym see in addition HONESTY
Integrity per Webster's is "a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values"
So we see commitment as being an unbroken pledge, a pledge where one gives his word, his promise and we see honor as being reputation, integrity and honesty. Firm adherence to a code of moral values. I promise (commit), I keep that promise (commitment) and thus I am honorable.
Survival upon a mere 100 in a future village will require commitment and honor. If disaster were to strike today and we were reduced to small villages of 100 what sort of louts would be about without the understanding that a personís honor must be counted on for the people to survive. In our village of billions where honor and commitment are not understood what chance do we as a people have to continue to survive?