What is your moral compass?

Growing up I felt like I got dealt a crummy hand.  This led me to believe it was within my right to “even the score” and I did many things that I have deep regret for  (far past the time I should have known better).

In high school when I returned to my faith, I felt that I needed to do the right thing by God.  Eventually I progressed to the point where I decided I wanted to do what I believe to be right, for myself.  When I started teaching I wanted to be a good role model for my students.  When Finn was born I carefully make my choices and hope that my actions will make him proud and even if they’re hard and he might disagree with them, he’ll know in the deepest part of his heart I made the choices I believed to be best for him.

My sister and I were having this conversation awhile ago and she said when she was going K-12th grade she felt she had to do her very best in school or else she was cheating the tax payers.  I had to laugh at this…what 8-year-old thinks like that?  I didn’t even know tax payers paid for public school when I was 8.  That is exactly my sister.  It shouldn’t have surprised me at all.

As a teacher, she work 80+ hours per week for social justice.  Others that put in that kind of time at her school do it for religious or a variety of other reasons (the only one I haven’t heard is for the money).  They end up working for the same goal…but they are motivated by very different moral compasses.

In the end, if you treat yourself and others well and contribute to the human race, I don’t think it really matters why you do it…as long as the reason means something to you.

Side note #1: Staring down the very scary 30-years-old in 10 months I look at myself and people I graduated with and I don’t feel that I was dealt a bad hand.  I am proud of what I have done with my life and I don’t think I could feel as good about it if I didn’t work hard for it (and stumble a bit too).  Some people had everything handed to them and now they aren’t motivated to do anything for themselves and they’re floundering.  30 and floundering is kinda sad.  Although not as sad as 40 and floundering.

Side Note #2: I don’t believe in obeying rules/laws that I don’t agree with.  I will never stop at stop signs in the mall parking lot.  I refuse to stop at crosswalks when there are no people wanting to cross (if there’s a person who wants to cross anywhere on the road, I stop).  I will always j-walk.  I will teach Finn to not blindly obey moral expectations and laws unless they make sense.  Thinking for oneself is something that is not taught enough anymore.  Blindly following others’ laws and rules leads to immoral and unethical treatment of people.

What is your moral compass?  Have you always done the right thing or do have regrets like me? Get your Spin Cycle on.  The hostess with the mostest is Sprite’s Keeper.

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11 Responses to What is your moral compass?

  1. Vince says:

    I think you know my moral compass. Although I will admit that as a teen I was very much a relative moralist. Using my intellect to determine what is right and wrong instead my faith and the teachings of God. It’s a very slippery slope as you can eventually justify almost anything.

    That being said, even now I don’t blindly follow things. However, being a Christian in today’s world is a very difficult thing as secular values are very different than Christian values. Pursuit of material things is having a serious affect on our kids. Saddest thing I read recently was that many primary care doctors felt poor and underpaid because they don’t make as much money as specialists. Mind you, most PCP’s were making 6 figure incomes. But I guess you’re slumming if you can only afford a Lexus instead of a Mercedes. What ever happened to having enough?

    I got a little chuckle out of the concept of doing a good job teaching so tax payers get their money’s worth. First time I’ve heard a motivation like that. But if it keeps you going, then that’s cool.
    Vince recently posted..HumbledMy Profile

  2. Wow, your sister was clued in at an early age!
    I agree, everyone’s moral compass will differ when working for a common goal, but as long as the common goal is in agreement with morality, I don’t see the need to dispute exactly which moral compass was the right one. :-)
    You’re linked!
    Sprite’s Keeper recently posted..Spin Cycle: The Moral ScorecardMy Profile

  3. Kate says:

    I think as long as people are doing the right thing, the reason why isn’t so important.
    I couldn’t agree with you more-about being a Christian. It’s a hard thing to walk the line between not following mindlessly and keeping our eyes on what’s truly important. Especially when you talk about why we seem to need more than enough. Forget a Lexus or a Mercedes, how about a Honda or Toyota? Then they can donate the rest of the money to another family to buy a car. Josh and I were just talking about this last week because there are cars out there that cost twice the amount of our house. I don’t understand why someone won’t just buy a nice car and donate the rest so a family can buy a home or put food on their table.
    I think I would feel guilty driving a car everyday knowing that some people in our country don’t have enough money to heat their houses or buy food for their children. I don’t care so much about the doctors who have to “slum” it because it’s less money-how do you not look into the faces of your patients and see that you’re saving their lives…isn’t that the real value of being a healer?
    I could go on and on about this (which I’m sure you know). So I will stop here before the train runs away!
    :) Kate

  4. Tracey says:

    I had a pithy response all ready and now I’ve forgotten what I was going to say… great.

    Although we have a friend (and I say we because he is technically the boy’s friend and I just know him by association) who will turn 40 in April. And he is floundering big time. By then he’ll have been unemployed BY CHOICE for two years. His mother pays his rent and his bills. All he does is drink all day. Trust me, you’re doing great.
    Tracey recently posted..Indulging a passionMy Profile

  5. Cyndi says:

    It’s been too long since I’ve stumbled over here – awesome post! IMHO, Finn will learn more about living and grace if you actually have both. I had to laugh about the sister/tax payer comment – definitely way ahead on that curve! Happy Fall

  6. Denise says:

    I totally agree with you, Kate:

    “Thinking for oneself is something that is not taught enough anymore.”

    People always tried to impose me their wishes and views. I always said “no, I have my own ideas”. Many didn’t accept me, and I always repected them. I always told people “I’ll respect your opinions and ideas, even though they differ from mine; all I ask is to be respected too.” But do you think most of the people care about it? No. It’s better to badmouth someone, to make their time juicier, I suppose. For those I say “get a life, stop staring at me. With the stones you throw on me I’ll build my castle.”

    Anyway, sometimes I feel/felt like cheating. Like one of these days, when I told a friend of mine… that I studied at a private university, one of the best and being a catholic one, therefore one of the most expensive one (priests only wanted money, believe me). I used to set some classes for late in the evening. We could miss 5 classes each semester, no more. I used this time to skip those classes and go to some bars. Why? I wasn’t allowed, by my parents, to go out. No bar, no party, no friend’s house. Just studying.

    So then I told her I really did a bad thing, lying to my dear father, who with love paid for my education. But what could I do? I wanted some “normal” experiences for my age. I did cry when I thought of that, talking to my friend. I just hope my experiences were worth, because I don’t trust my decisions many times… and I hope that somehow I could make my dad proud of who I am.
    Denise recently posted..LondonMy Profile

  7. Kate says:

    Happy Fall to you as well! I’m so sorry, I’m sure I’m being totally thoughtless (did I mention I have a 3 year old?) but can you give me a link to your blog so I can check you out too? I can’t find it for some reason!
    :) Kate

  8. Kate says:

    Unemployed by choice…can’t imagine what it’s like to live in that world. That’s pretty sad and I’m pretty sure he should be worried about becoming an alcoholic.
    Your approval of my attempts to do good means a lot to me…and I always think you’re hilarious!
    :) Kate

  9. Kate says:

    Right? Secretly, I’m pretty sure she’s an alien! No human could be that perfect.
    :) Kate

  10. Kate says:

    I love your comments and how you frame your ideas…I think we agree a lot…but if we disagreed we could do so respectfully!
    I always feel sad when you write about how you’re not sure if your mom & dad were/would be proud of you. They raised you into the beautiful, smart, generous, kind, and witty woman you are today and I know they look down on you with so much pride that their hearts can’t hold it all. I know that 1,000%!!
    I hope to remember everyday of the rest of my life–with the stones you throw on me, I’ll build my castle. That’s perfection.
    We all made choices when we were younger that weren’t the best. That’s part of getting through the teen years. Forgive yourself for that. And please (PLEASE, PLEASE) trust your decisions…you have everything you need to be happy and wonderful within yourself. And you know who gave who those whispers that you hear in your ears when you’re making a decision…your mom and dad. And that’s how I know both of your parents are SO SO SO proud of you…how could the not be?
    :) Kate

  11. maggie says:

    I’m not sure what my moral compass is. . . I guess I was brought up with the ‘do onto others as you would have them do to you’ idea. . . and I suppose honesty. Which maybe doesn’t make sense, but if you think about it. . . if I would have to lie about what I’d done to my best friends, I probably shouldn’t do it. I’m a horrible liar, so this works pretty well for me.

    I definitely have some regrets, but nothing huge. . . ultimately, I think that it’s better not to regret. . . think of it as life lessons or whatever 😉 Like, I recently lost a friend because of a STUPID situation… and I had listened to my friends who told me to get out from the get go, I wouldn’t have ended up in that situation. So. Lesson learned. My friends know what they’re talking about.
    maggie recently posted..If I had three dollars for every time someone asked. . . Do Your Ears Hang Low?My Profile

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