The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

June 2, 2013

Our Readers Speak — Sunday, June 2, 2013

Parents should teach morality to children

“Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.”— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This quote hung above the door of an Athens convenience store when I went to Concord College. I have always agreed with this quote, although I have to say back doors need swept, too. Its premise, that everyone is responsible for his or her own behavior, needs to be taught in American homes today.

I was discussing something that happened at school with my daughter when she lamented, “It’s hard when I’m the only one following the Golden Rule, Mommy!” It made me wonder if folks are teaching their children the Golden Rule. Its wording comes from Jesus, but the ideal appears in almost every culture, not just Judeo-Christian. This would make one conclude that it is solid, moral and universal.

I lack philosophical reasoning, so I cannot explain why people chose immorality, dishonesty or violence. Humans are capable of both good and evil, but I believe the majority of us want to behave well and be moral. We institute laws to protect the innocent and punish the guilty in order to keep our society strong and safe.

Now, I know all this is very simplistic. It doesn’t take into consideration complicated relative ideas like sometimes violence is justified.

I actually want to make my message simple like Goethe’s — behave morally, teach morality and be a good example. This is my challenge to myself as well as to all. If we do this, maybe America will enjoy some peace and security again.

Valerie Sellards


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