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You have it! My argument that we should not think of ethics as a "band aide" was based on the fact that ethics is everyone's responsibility. Learning ethics should be part of everyone's process of growing up.

Robert Fulgham wrote a funny book called "All you need to know is what you learned in kindergarten." He used humor and interesting anecdotes to show how ethics is learned.

Unfortunately, school systems now are trying to push more stuff like pre-calculus in kindergarten so the kids can get into MIT. To make room for advanced stuff like that "working and playing with others" gets kicked out of the curriculum.

Childhood is not an expendable commodity. You can't get it back when you are ready to start training your kids in ethics. They need to learn it from day one. They need to see it practiced by their parents at home. And then, they need to learn how to do it in real life. Kindergarten and first grade is a major proving ground for ethics.

I was once told by a neighbor, whose 8 year old son was harassing us with petty vandalism, that he should not be considered responsible because he is too young.

The truth is, a kid will learn all the values and principles they need to live an ethical and responsible life between age 4 and 14. If they don't get the nurturing and affection during the first few years of life as MadameT mentions, its going to be hard to get them to accept the limits they need to get to be responsible 14 year olds.

My neighbor's perception that 8 was too young for the kid to learn respect and responsibility scared me. At that age it's almost too late to teach him respect for other people's property! The problem in this case is the parents just weren't there and the daycare giver they hired had no idea how to set limits. Thank goodness a bigger more upscale house came on the market in a high status neighborhood and they moved. I think you get the point. The priorities should be in the right place before there is a problem.

It is fortunate and unfortunate that Ethics has become so popular recently. New Ethics institutes open every day at institutions who think they just bought a "band aide" to solve the "Front Page" problem that just happened there.

In the short term, the new ethics institutes will raise public awareness of the importance of ethics, but in the long term that benefit might get lost if the new faculty they hire publish all of their work in language that only another ethicist can understand.

If ethicists used plain English we all would realize that we too can practice the process of ethics every day. Robert Fulgham is right, all you need to know you learn at your mothers breast and in kindergarten. Then, you need to remember that as you get older.

How can we restore and expand knowledge about effective mothering. Start a mother mentor program? I don't know.

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