For the past few months I have struggled heartily with my own moral compass: at what point was I solving or correcting a problem and at what point would I become complicit in the problem by not being able to turn it around even though I knew it existed. My dilemma involved a school, students, a chronically corrupt and in some aspects morally bankrupt country (Kenya), people who thrive in manipulating moral situations to make them seem palatable, some friends, my personal safety and my ability to accept I had made a sad choice for myself.
In spite of the personal hardships my choice would cause, I could not live with myself adding to the problem and did not see any possibility to problem solve without giving up some of my integrity. Suffice it to say, I came home after lengthy consultation with my family, friends and a local pastor who knew much more the back history of the dilemma than I could sort out in five months. It hurt. It stung. The very thing I had so desired for 10 years came crashing down but ultimately I found that I had to be able to sleep at night and I sorted out for myself the difference of right versus correct for this situation.
I have now been home three weeks. At moments of weakness I still cry but I am getting better at accepting my choice and knowing my intent was to do more good than harm to all involved.
With this in mind, the above article was deeply disturbing in so much as it demonstrated adults who could not (would not?) think and own their responsibility for one of the greatest catastrophic financial events in my lifetime and quite possibly, the last hundred years by what I read from different analyses of the most recent banking debacle.
My questions are then. “How many of these people who run (administer) and work in the highest echelons of the banking and financial industries are complicit in and demonstration of a bereft moral compass? What does the behavior say about us and our willingness to accept this shoddy behavior by not demanding something different? What does this behavior say about those involved in the banking/financial industry on a moral/personal level if they accept bonuses and can not apologize for destroying and devastating very real lives?”
I ask this because these aforementioned people are our modern day model of heros until we demonize them to villians. These people are what our children see as perpetrators of victimless crimes because we are willing to not demand a very human and humble emotion- REGRET.
These people who do not apologize about how they obtained their money, for a variety of reasons – fear of shareholders, greed, ego, not conceptualizing what they did was wrong, psychological madness and other assorted reasons do not help us raise up future generations to think with more clarity about their actions. If anything, we ourselves begin to put immorality in a category of benign neglect and downplay the effects.
“Certainly the accepting of public responsibility is a virtue that companies and business schools should cultivate,” said Mr. Bruner. (Italics are mine!)
In order to teach children, young adults and quite frankly some adults about ethical behavior, we need to demand it from the very people who should be demonstrating the ability to be humble and contrite.