Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We’ve Got Some Work To Do

I recently read the Josephson Institute’s 2008 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth. It was based on a survey of nearly 30,000 students in high schools across the U.S. It’s quite alarming as this is the future. NOW is the time to be working with kids to get them, and keep them, on the right track to success. These are the people that will be running our local businesses and international corporations in the near future.

The report showed that a “total of 30 percent of teens admitted stealing from a store within the past year.” One “good” thing about this is that “Honors students (21 percent), student leaders (24 percent), and students involved in youth activities like the YMCA and school service clubs (27 percent) were less likely to steal.” Although not totally, positive influence programs DO help.

It goes on to say that “42 percent said that they sometimes lie to save money. More than eight in ten students (83 percent) confessed they lied to a parent about something significant.” And “64 percent cheated on a test during the past year (38 percent did so two or more times).”

“Despite these high levels of dishonesty, the respondents have a high self-image when it comes to ethics. A whopping 93 percent said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character and 77 percent said that when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know.”

Personal responsibility, personal ethics, leadership – these things don’t necessarily come naturally. Why wait to teach them till bad habits have already taken root? Get involved with local schools or the “Y” as a volunteer or a mentor and start shaping tomorrow’s replacements today.

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