David Giambusso wrote a terrific article regarding the Dalai Lama’s recent visit to New Jersey where there was a focus on the value of ethics in education. “Education without ethics can be just as bad as ignorance.”
I am thankful the Dalai Lama’s visit brings the concept of “how do we teach ethics?” to the table. What a wonderful time to include teachers, students, parents, and business people to foster conscientiousness. Being ethical is not an acquired skill set “out there.” It is an internal sense of what is right, what is wrong. We are constantly faced with ethical decisions moment to moment, day to day. We have teachable moments in the midst of daily life.
Here are some examples of questions I have asked both my ten year old daughter at the dinner table and some business clients in the boardroom as recently as last week:
- If you had a chance to do anything differently this week, what would you do and why would you do it?
- When you make choices this week, did any of them make you feel a tingle in your stomach? If so, what did that sensation feel like and why do you suppose you had it?
- Think of a regret of something you wish you hadn’t done. Now that time has passed and you have more wisdom–were there choices available to you that you didn’t see at that time?
- What is the nicest thing you have every done for someone? Where did the idea to do that come from? How did it make you feel?
- What movie have you seen or book that you read that the character was faced with a difficult decision? Did you agree with their choice or would you have made another choice?
Hopefully you can see the theme here. People don’t put on an “ethics” hat an all of a sudden have more wisdom. We just need to take pause, reflect and be asked to reflect. This practice allows us to articulate how we make decisions and explore where more choices might be available in the future. I do believe ethics can be taught. Whether it is the dinner table or the class room questions as simple as these can support our ability to reinforce our own inner wisdom as well as help others around us reflect.
Making wiser and more compassionate decisions is a “a moment to moment” practice across all disciplines.
Wishing you clarity and wisdom as you model the world you hope to create,
Co-author Strategy Leadership & the Soul