Do the Right Thing (Especially Now)

For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.
2 Corinthians 8: 21

As you likely know, Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, has launched initiatives aimed at transforming culture in America. There are tangible, specific projects covering all aspects of 21st century life.

There is plenty to do.

Certainly, the demonization of not just “moral behavior” but also mere “traditions” is rampant. The way we present ourselves each day remains controversial. Near the top of my list is Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman, who has been handling his civic duties on Capitol Hill, dressed in a hoodie and track shorts. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer responded by ending the tradition of members wearing business attire in the chamber. It apparently will be “whatever is hanging up in the closet” day each day.

The growing vitriol on social media is certainly another symptom of the erosion of common culture, a culture of politeness and reasonableness. As I discuss with my media-based classes, the “guardrails” are gone, and we either dig in more robustly, or simply withdraw.

There is certainly evidence young people, especially young men, prefer gaming to seeking work-The National Bureau of Economic Research reported on this phenomenon about six years ago, and a more recent study, reported in Bloomberg news reports, among men ages 15 to 24 who spent at least some time playing games on an average day in 2022, the average time spent was 3.82 hours.

During the first decade and a half of this century, young American men devoted a growing amount of time to computer and video games and a shrinking amount to work). Motivation, at least from traditional sources such as the family and peers, seems to be lacking.

An aspect of daily life that has me very concerned is the seeming lack of showing basic dignity and politeness, especially among young people wanting to meet others for a relationship and, yes, marriage. Opportunities appear, people meet, one or the other parties simply disappears, “ghosting” as it’s called.

I do understand someone opting to not follow through if they feel uncomfortable with the person they met, but to have a pleasant, perhaps meaningful first meeting, and then do nothing, leaving the other person hanging, and unsure what they’ve done to deserve that behavior…that greatly concerns me. I have certainly heard enough stories among younger people in our circle about these behaviors.

Basic courtesy would seem to make this obvious, but apparently not so in the dating world in 2023.

What to do? If students are not entering college with this basic skill, do we offer workshops on courtesy and kindness? Is this innate behavior, or is it taught?

If a goal is to prepare our young people to “do the right thing”, what lessons do we introduce? Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is a start, to be sure. Romans 12:9” “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves”.

Basically, letting go of oneself to honor others is a path forward in changing the direction in this fractured culture.

Image: Gratis Graphics

Michael Throop