We express our affection for one another on Valentine’s Day. When this day has passed, we need to think about how we behave towards one another the rest of the year. What messages are we giving to our children the other 364 days?
Many in our society have forgotten how to treat people with dignity and respect. Greed rather than compassion dominate large organization, businesses and corporations. Corporate takeovers and restructured management are common these days. With new management, the policy is often to lay off personnel no matter how much they have given to the company. It is not “good business” to keep them. Another strategy is to renege on benefits. Some companies fire all of its employees and had everyone reapply for every position. As a result, faithful employees lost all their seniority.
Some companies hire executive “hatchet men” whose job is to force out employees by making their lives miserable. They show no mercy or concern for their fellow men. Companies demand loyalty from their employees, but see no obligation to respond in kind. Men and women over fifty are becoming expendable. Companies can hire somebody else to fill the position who is not only younger but who comes cheaper. Our children are learning that loyalty and dedication do not pay.
The media and reality TV show the luxuries of the rich who live in mansions and have all the other accouterments of the good life. At the same time they complain that their taxes are too high. All of this is mentioned in the same newspapers that report that the number of children living in poverty is increasing by leaps and bounds. A country like ours should be ashamed of these discrepancies.
It all comes down to ethical behavior and a proper sense of values. We must learn to say to our children, “Do this because it is right.” “Don’t do that; it’s wrong.” We must understand they reasons why, and we cannot adopt a “Do as I say, not as I do” philosophy. Adults in our country must give the message by their actions that everyone is important and worthy of compassion so that our children can develop decent standards of behavior.
* Lying, cheating and stealing are wrong, even when there is no chance of being caught.
* Transactions should be fair. A worker deserves decent wages, and an employer deserves productive, quality work. A businessman deserves a decent profit, and a satisfied customer is not just good business, it also makes ethical sense.
* Making things is better than making deals.
* Learning, education, knowledge and the search for knowledge are good things in themselves.
* Compassion is not a transient emotional reaction to a sad story on the six o’clock News. It is a personal commitment — political, social and economic to relieve human suffering.
* All people deserve dignity and respect. Treat your children this way, and insist that they do the same in their dealings with others and especially with you.
* Machines become obsolete; people do not.
* Cleaning up is everyone’s obligation.
* The human race is a good thing. Let’s leave something for future generations — a clean environment, decent institutions, and a compassionate society in which they can feel secure and proud.
IN OTHER WORDS, LET’S MAKE VALENTINE’S DAY 365 DAYS OF THE YEAR.