Where does ethical behavior come from?
Does everyone have the desire to be ethical?
I’ve just started reading a book on ethics. It’s been in the house for years and I discovered it yesterday. The book is comprised of people and institutions who have achieved success and who did so without lying, cheating, and stealing their way to the top. Leaders from various walks of life and the role that ethics, values, and character played in their lives and in their success.
The first featured example, Norman R. Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation says he learned early on from his parents, and credits his father with being the most honest person he has ever known. That’s a pretty great parental example! When he was a young boy his dad left a clipping for him on his mirror in his room. The message said, Don’t wait until you are a man to be great, be a great boy. Augustine eventually became the National President of the Boy Scouts of America and spent 7 years as the Chairman of the American Red Cross. A man with a sense of duty and dedication to the service of others!
He credits a 6th grade teacher who was “tough as nails” and a high school fraternity many Denver high school students aspired to be in. The fraternity run by a man who allowed no smoking, drinking or drugs, encouraged community service and did not tolerate lying.
I thought the prayer of the high school fraternity was sound and beautiful:
Let us not be frightened by the problems that confront us, but rather give thee thanks that thou has given us the opportunity to show our worth. May we be part of the answer and not part of the problems of the youth of our age.