Is Our Generation Moral?
We ask ourselves, “Am I doing the right thing?”,“Am I a good person?”, and other similar questions concerning our morality on a daily basis. Morality has great significance in everyone’s life, because everyone’s moral compass is different, and ultimately creates our environment through everyone’s different ideals and viewpoints colliding or aligning. Our decisions and opinions influence others for better or worse. What was once wrong can be widely accepted and what was good can become a new destructive evil in an instint. The general belief of what is right and what is wrong shifts with each generation, as people begin to speak up about their convictions, so it is important to ask ourselves if we are changing the world’s beliefs for good or bad, and if we are setting a good foundation for the next generation.
In order to answer this question, I walked around Target conducting interviews with shoppers of all ages. The answers were staggered with each age group, giving us insight into whether or not our generation is making the right decisions.
Kathleen Kosal, an english teacher from Wheeler High School and one of the people I interviewed, said, “I always have to try to believe the best in people, or else it would make my job pretty miserable.”, and 80% of the interviewees held the same sentiment in saying they generally believe people are moral today. However, for the 20% that disagree, the immorality comes from those in higher positions in our society, “because the rich can afford to be forgiven”. Even though most people think we are moral today, 50% of people also believe that we are less moral today than past generations. “Morals have become more loose. We know what is right and what is wrong, but we aren’t actually expected to live in either direction.”, one of the interviewees responded when asked if past generations were more moral.
In order to see the extent of this believed moral shift, I asked what is accepted today that wasn’t accepted in the past. Answers varied from language to cultural diversity, with most of the focus being on sexuality and how much we are allowed to see on television nowadays. We then asked what caused this moral shift. An elementary student, Andrew, said, “It’s because we have better stuff today, so we have more chances to make mistakes.” Others blamed a failure in leadership, including the failure of parental guidance, saying that parents aren’t strict enough with their kids and need to dole out harsher punishments.
To try to understand where people think our generation is headed, I asked what they think will be accepted in the future that isn’t today. 90% of the people we questioned responded with an answer concerning diversity, and how we will be more accepting in the future, whether it be for good or bad. One middle schooler, Thomas, said, “People will be a lot more accepting in the future of all things. They will be so accepting, that our bad actions won’t have nearly as many consequences. Maybe even to the point where there are no consequences at all.” I then took the shopper’s suggestions on what our generation needs to do to be moral people and to create a virtuous future. According to the great customers of Target, we need to learn from the mistakes of the past, continue to be advocates for what we believe, tell someone if we see something wrong, hold higher standards for ourselves, have higher education levels, help others as much as possible, be good parents to our children, and, most importantly, “Chill out I guess.”
– Grace Crain