Thursday, January 16, 2014

The 7 Ethical Virtues

DeMolay teaches the Seven Cardinal virtues - Filial Love, Reverence for Sacred Things, Courtesy, Comradeship, Fidelity, Cleanness, and Patriotism. At their most base level, what are the Virtues? Quite simply, when stripped of all other meaning, they are basic guides on how to live an ethical life, which is something we all need and can use.

Recently, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Freakonomics, which was referencing ethical behavior. They were interviewing two attorneys, one which currently works for the government and another who previously held the same position. These men were the legal counsel for the Department of Defense's ethics and compliance division. Part of their job is to train employees and military officers on ethical issues. They quickly realized that being entertaining is a great way to train and engage personnel, so they devised an ingenious way of handling the situation.

They began publishing a book called "The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure" (which you can download by clicking that link.) In it, they detail hundreds of stories of government officials who have acted in an irresponsible and unethical fashion. These stories are then used as examples in trainings to help people better understand the fine line that can be ethics.

When asked what the common theme of these stories tends to be, one of the attorneys answered that most of the people who get caught up in an ethical scandal, and fail, are good people who just made a very poor judgment call. When someone confronts them after their failure, they often realize just how dumb the mistake was and completely understand why it was a problem.

As you live your life, I encourage you think back to the Seven Cardinal Virtues when confronted with a problem. Before you respond to a difficult situation, think about all the ramifications of your decision, letting the Virtues of DeMolay guide you. Just because something may be "legal" is it always ethical? That's often a murky line and one that separates men from greatness.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

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