Moral Basis( This was an assignment for my Moral Choices Class)

Morals are our inner compass to know what is right and wrong. Our morals allow us to make decisions. When decisions conflict with our morals we are often faced to examine our morals in either our own best interests, the interests of our families and the interests of society. Our morals are formed by our families, our belief system and society. Each of these have helped me shaped my moral compass.
My family has taught me a range of things. Some of my family’s actions have shown me what not to do. I grew up in a very dysfunctional family. I was taught that respect should just be blindly given. That I should blindly respect my elders, my teachers, my peers, my family, God, and anyone with authority. However, as I have gotten older, I have learned that respect is a two-way street, there is a difference between respect and following directions or even being polite. I believe that respect is earned and not given. I will always be polite to everyone but that doesn’t equal my respect. I will treat everyone in a manner that I would expected to be treated but I definitely don’t respect everyone. I will not lie, I do not respect our current president, however I will never treat him rudely. I would never hold a replica of his head on television like Kathy Griffin. I would never make jokes about assassinating our president. I can’t blindly respect our president when he bluntly has no respect for women and he is willing to cut funding to services for women and limit the basic rights of women. I also have no respect for him due to his mocking of a disabled person. I can’t respect anyone who mocks a disabled person because I am a mother of a special needs child. My son was diagnosed with High Function Autism and a Sensory Processing disorder. I have an uncle that had mental retardation. When someone can do those things, they show their true colors.
As a general statement, I have a level of respect for our law enforcement and public safety workers such as firefighters and EMTs. However, I have no respect for law enforcement that will use their badge and power to extract favors or take bribes. I refuse to respect any officer that will shoot an unarmed civilian, But I also refuse to judge anyone based on the actions of a select few. As a wife of a firefighter, I have gotten to know quite a few members of law enforcement that would never abuse the power they have been given. More law enforcement will do anything to help the people they serve than they would do anything illegal, however they get a bad reputation because of the ones that are corrupted. However, as I stated above my family did not teach me that distinction. That distinction came from being exposed to society and seeing that not everyone deserves your respect.
My family has also taught me that I needed to be friendly to people. They did teach me stranger danger. However, both of my parents would say that not everyone you meet has your best interests at heart or is your friend, they failed in showing me the distinction. Experience has taught me that. Again there is a huge difference between being polite which is something I believe we should do to everyone, but not everyone deserves your friendship. Growing up with a dysfunctional family, I desperately wanted to be friendly to everyone and I would do anything for anyone that I thought was my friend. However, life has taught me that there is a difference between people that are using me for my kindness or what I can do for them verses those how truly have my back. That even extends to my family. I was raised with the expectation that family was supposed to have my back no matter what. Yet I have a few family members that I know truly have my back and even less friends that do.
I have recently left a domestic violence relationship, and I have truly learned who really has my back. My mom has helped me however in her mind, domestic violence isn’t something that I should have made known. My family really didn’t know much about it until I had finally broken down. My uncle dropped everything to help me leave my husband twice, even though his tough love can be brutal he has shown me that he will always be there for me. My aunts from my dad’s side, show me that family doesn’t always have your back. They refuse to see past some of my adolescent actions. I have a very volatile relationship with my father and they will only deal with me during obligatory family functions. My godmother, who one would assume that would side with me over my husband, is more on his side and when I do ask her to help with kids; runs to him and tells him everything I tell her.
When I had my son, I had realized that a lot of the people that were my friends stopped being friends because my priorities had shifted to my newborn. Then when I did start isolating my friends because of the domestic violence relationship, when I left I was shown that not everyone was still willing to be friends.
My family actions showed me that I needed to be accepting people’s difference. My mother always had people around us that were different races and different circumstances, and that taught me that sometimes the poorest people are the most accepting. When it comes to my dad’s family, they are a little less accepting of people’s differences. As my dad would say my grandmother likes to forget where she comes from. I struggled to feel accepted by own family for my differences. My siblings were athletic were I loved the arts, I loved writing and drawing. My cousin went to private school and lived a sheltered life where I did not. Struggling to belong within my own family has taught me to be accepting of other people’s differences. I like to joke with people saying I had the best of both worlds, at one point in my life I grew up so poor and then got to experience so finer things in life. This showed me that your economic background, your religion, your race, or sexual orientation don’t strictly define who you are.
This is a moral that I find people in society have a problem with. I have met so many people that are quick to judge someone because of their differences. I have had people want to judge or treat my son different just because he is on the Autism Spectrum. They define who he is just by one facet of who he is. Our society still struggles with this; we are still judging people based on one facet of who they are. Society as well as life experiences have taught me that violence on any level is wrong.
Society and our families teach us from a young age that we are not supposed to be violent, not only because violence is wrong but because hurting others is wrong. However, society also creates a stigma about violence. For example, little girls are told by our parents and teachers that if a little boy pinches you or pulls your pigtail that he likes you. However, that misguided stigma shows boys that it is acceptable to use violence as a way to express affection. Even though I realize that a majority of boys will eventually be taught the violence isn’t acceptable. My own family has been guilty of making excuses for when violence is acceptable. I was taught as a child, that I was never supposed to be the bully but if they were violent first, it was acceptable to respond with violence. When we retaliate in violence we are no better than the person that initiated the violence. Violence being wrong on any level isn’t just about the act of violence itself it is the principle that we should not inflict harm upon anyone else.
Society, family and education has taught me the value of integrity. From a young age we are taught that it is better to tell the truth than to tell a lie. School constantly stresses the point of academic integrity, to the point that when an assignment is submitted, it is run through software to make sure that we haven’t committed plagiarism. However, integrity is more than just telling the truth or submitting our own work. To me acting with integrity includes not cheating, whether it been in an academic setting or in my personal relationships. It also includes not stealing. Whether that be purposely robbing a bank or accepting the extra cash when the cashier handles you too much. That last part, I have learned from working. I have seen people lose their jobs over that. To me living with integrity is also being true to yourself no matter what the situation is. I have witnessed plenty of people say they have integrity however, they separate that between their home, social and work life. I also tie integrity to being accountable and taking responsibility.
Being moral to me also includes evolving and adapting, that means that you constantly have to be willing to change when you are presented with new information and new experiences that may conflict with beliefs that you hold. I was raised by two Christian parents, however I started to question my belief in god after learning about other religions. For a while I would tell people that I was an atheist. However, I started learning more depth about other religions such as Buddhism, Wiccan, and Hinduism. During my journey into other religions, I found that parts of each religion had beliefs that I had already believed in. To me part of the evolving process was recognizing that Christianity had incorporated some Pagan holidays but gave them Christian names. Halloween celebrates the Pagan holiday Samhain. Evolving means constantly learning as well. Another example would be that I knew very little about Autism and a Sensory Processing Disorders until my son was diagnosed with it in 2016. Evolving and adapting is just limited to a pursuit of knowledge. It also includes evolving yourself. I can admit I am not the same person I was 4 years ago. I have been through so much that it’s impossible to be the same. My experience with domestic violence as changed the way I view any future relationships. My journey to healing after domestic violence has shown me just how the dysfunction of my family affected me more than I was aware of.
In conclusion, all these are the core to my moral compass. They give me the building blocks to decide what is right or wrong. Even in cases where the right decision isn’t so clear. The ability to evolve and adapt allows me to be receptive to new perspectives. Having integrity gives me a sense of honesty and a sense to be whole and consistent, even when people around me act otherwise. My distain for violence allows me to choose a course that is least likely to cause harm, to either myself or others. My acceptances of other’s differences allow me to evolve and adapt but it also allows me to see things from another angle. It also makes me tolerate. My basis for respect allows me to see that even if I don’t respect you don’t mean it’s acceptable to treat you any less. Overall these building blocks not only allow me to make the best moral decision, they allow me succeed in life.

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