I’m not sure where you reside, or if you are burdened with these issues, and I certainly hope not, but there’s no doubt crime is on the rise where I reside–in the city of Houston. Statistics are not only rising, but startling. According to Neighborhood Scout (2000-2014) one can become victimized by crime at a rate of 60 per 1000 residents. Houston has the highest crime rate in America compared to all communities of all sizes. The chances of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime is 1/17 (Neighborhood Scout, 2000-2014).
For me the realization of these events has become increasingly distracting, and quite fearful. I’ve begun to notice this more recently due to listening to the morning news. Each morning when we arise, and as a part of our morning routine, my husband turns the television on. Our intent is to capture the weather so as to prepare for proper dress, but we also take notice of other events taking place about us. News reporters spurt out newsflashes and overnight updates of one criminal act after another. This is quite disturbing, to say the very least.
I’ve learned however, to map my course. Journeying to the grocery or gas pump has now become a job. I have to watch my every move, my back (so to speak), and clutch onto my purse strings. Lord forbid, if my small child is in tow. I’ve learned to practice certain tactics with her if ever distressed. The reality of this is a “sad state of affairs.”
Yes, I know that crime isn’t new to any of us, but as of late it appears that our communities are inundated with corruption and deceit. Seemingly, these criminals have no care, or regard for the lives of others, and lack a sense of remorsefulness. I have to wonder the mind-sets of the men (generally speaking) who choose to go this route. I have to wonder about the ethics and morals of such individuals and why they feel the right, and privilege to take from others rather than work for the goods they desire. What ever happened to men “working by the sweat of one’s brow?” Wouldn’t they value and cherish their articles more? To take it a step further, how can a man feel good about one-self enjoying possessions that aren’t his? Where did this sense of entitlement come from?
As I reflect on this topic and the questions that constantly race through my mind these days of recent, I ponder about ethics, morals, and moral principles. I realize, perhaps, most people may use these two words interchangeably, but actually they have two distinct meanings, so I’ll define them.
Ethics: A set of principles of right behaviors or manners. The rules or standards that lead or regulate the conduct of a person
Morals: Relates to what a person thinks is right/wrong or good/bad.
When I think about the differences in these two definitions, I have to surmise that a person is morally good according to their personal worldview, or perception of what they believe to be just or right for them. Still, I have to ask, how does one get to this point? What is it that drives one to rob, kill, and cause bodily harm to another? Why would a man commit home invasions — kicking his brotherly neighbor’s front door in, holding the owner’s hostage and taking all their worldly possessions? What happened to his ethics, or did he ever acquire ethics?
Moral issues are the business of our obligation, and debt to each other, but they also comprise just or fair treatment towards one another, and what rights we have one to another. It appears some of us “got it” while others did not.
Although it may be too late for some, perhaps we can start afresh with our young, teaching them to become ethically and morally reasonable citizens in our society/communities.
With this in mind, it is my judgment that we should be about the business of teaching our children how to conduct themselves morally. I’d like to pose a few tips of how to embed a sense of moral principles within our children, for it is my hope to make a difference, if only a smidgen.
Tips for Teaching Effective Moral Principles
- Parents should begin by explaining what morals entail. Afterwards, outline targeted principles. These can be taught in phases so that children can have time to practice and take ownership of the lesson.
- Teach children how to become in-tuned to their feelings and the feelings of family members and playmates. Parents can create imaginary situations, so that children will have the opportunity to get their feelings “in-check.” This will also allow children to recognize and grasp their feelings and emotions.
- During interactions with others is a great time to teach how to play fair and recognize the feelings of others. This is a great time to teach how to share and take turns, and also work on potential bullying behaviors.
- Be sure to implement a plan for accepting consequences for actions. There are rules (laws of the land), and everyone is responsible for abiding by regulations put in place by lawmakers.
Am I “preaching to the choir” here?” If so, how can we reach the neighborhoods and families we know needs to hear and learn these lessons, or will we have to rely and depend on our teachers to help reach and instill within our children moral principles?
These tips and messages can be used for anyone who lives in a city plagued with crime and contention.
Together, we can make a difference in the lives of young children in a desperate attempt to end crime sprees, and vicious crime cycles in our communities. Surely with well thought-out teachings, our children will harbor moral principles that will be instilled within them for a lifetime.
It is my hope that through teachings and role modeling, we can turn Houston crime, and crime in like cities around.
About the author
Author, Cherrye Vasquez, has a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction; a Master of Ed in Special Education; and a BA in Speech Pathology/Audiology. Vasquez specializes in Multi-cultural education and holds certifications in Early Childhood Handicapped, Mid-Management and Educational Diagnostician.
Vasquez is passionate about empowering children, so her platform centers on diversity and bullying issues. She feels strongly that if children are empowered and armed with the tools needed for a deep love of self and self-identity, they will be able to withstand life’s challenges, including bullies.
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