My values started the day I was born, April 25, 1969. I was born to a semi- conservative, church going family in West Virginia. The benefit of growing up in that culture was the basis for what I have chosen to be the values and ethics that I base all my personal and professional decisions. I believe that before we can discuss our values and ethics, we have to have an understanding from where they came. As I have said before, the basis for my values and ethics started with my parents and family. Actually they started with what my grand parents instilled in my parents, particularly my mom’s parents. The values they instilled were then past on and instilled in me and my brother by our parents.
I am doing the best to instill those same values in my two sons. The culture that I was raised in was the typical small American town, middle class, semi-conservative household. I was raised and still attend churches affiliated with the Church of God, Anderson, IN. As a child, if the doors were open we were there; Sunday’s, Wednesday’s, Vacation Bible School, revivals, and camp meetings. Church was number one; it came before all extracurricular activities. My parents were always involved in different ministries of the church, from choir, to different boards, to teaching. Another aspect of the culture that I was raised was that my parents always wanted someone to be around. Therefore, growing up as a child my grand parents were at the house every day when my brother and I came home from elementary school.
As they aged and my brother and I got older, they would not come to the house as much. But My Ethics and Values 3 those early years, seeing them come everyday, instilled the importance of family to me. My mom was a school teacher, so when she got home from school she would always get to spend an hour or so with her mom and dad. My dad has worked for different companies, owned his own business for years, and now currently works for the city where they live. With all this being said, this is where the basis for my priorities and ethics comes from. The most important priority to me is God and my Christian faith. My sons see the importance of this by the decisions that my wife and I make. My number two priority is my family and marriage. I want to instill in my sons what my parents instilled in me. But to do this they have to see the importance of family. That is why we sit down together to eat dinner. That is why we let them make decisions on family fun times and dinners out.
My third priority would be my job and school. I have to have my job to help support my family, but my wife and my sons come before my job. I am lucky that I work for a college and have a boss that knows that family is important. I am back in school to improve myself and to help my family. I have never regretted living by my ethics and personal values. But I believe that sometimes we take them for granted. I appreciate and relate to what Houlder and Sull (2005) stated in their article: …our most important commitments are the result of mundane decisions we make about how to allocate our money, time, and energy. Because these decisions are individually small, it is easy to lose sight of them, and when we do, a gap can grow between what we value and what we do. (p. 82) I agree with their analysis because we go day by day without realizing that the decisions we make affect our values.
At work, people have to make decisions to deal with what is ethically correct, morally correct, or politically correct. They have to decide to do what is right by the organization, right by what he or she believes, or be loyal to a friend (Provis, 2005). It is a shame that people have to make a decision when it comes to their ethics. I have never had to make this type of decision but I hope that if that time ever comes, I follow my ethics and trust that it is the right thing to do. I am lucky enough to work for a Christian college that has basically the same values that I do. I do not have to compromise my values or ethics for my employer. The college has the same basic belief that in corporate ethics there is “a sense of obligation to ‘do good’ in the local and global communities our businesses touch” (Krumsiek, 2004).
It is important to the college that they look good to the community. This affects the fundraising that goes on within the community. I was taught to treat others as I would want to be treated; to be honest in everything that I do; to be a trusting person for my family, friends, and coworkers; to be credible in all that I say and do; and to live by integrity – that what I do behind closed doors, I would do in public places. All these affect the ethical decisions that I make. I do my best to make sure that the decisions I make are ethically, morally, and biblically-based. I pray that when I am old and gray that I can look back over my life and say that I made all my decisions this way.
Houlder, D. ; Sull, D. (2005, January) Do your commitments match your convictions? Harvard Business Review, 83(1), 82. Krumsiek, B. (2004). Voluntary codes of conduct for multifunctional corporations: Promises and challenges. Business and Society Review, 586. Provis, C. (2005). Dirty hands and loyalty in organisational politics. Business Ethics Quarterly, 15(2), 283-298.