Ethical and Loving Relationships
A valuable goal of education is to help people develop the capacity for ethical and loving relationships. Love cannot be separated from ethics, because ethics concerns the way to properly relate with others. Building upon the first goal, mature character with the capacity for true love, a person learns to observe the standards and proper rules for good relationships. The loving and harmonious family is both the goal and the central context of ethical training and practice. Instruction in the rules and norms of behavior is key to education in ethics.
Good character develops only through a course of continual self-discipline and striving to adhere to standards of good behavior. Ethical training provides us with standards to guide our personal life and our relationships with others. This component of education is concerned with learning norms of behavior, training to obey rules, and understanding the reasons behind rules.
In the family, ethical conduct includes fulfilling our proper role according to our position, whether as an elder brother, son, daughter, wife, father, etc. It means accepting the responsibility inherent in our role, upholding fidelity within marriage and guarding the integrity of the family itself.
Schools are composed of webs of relationships and responsibilities. Ideally, the standard of the school is in harmony with the standard of the family. Education in ethical standards consists of continual training in conduct, attitudes and manners. It includes the art of creating harmony in the relationships of daily life. It involves a sense of when and how to follow, and when and how to lead. An ethical person can relate well even with people with whom it is difficult to get along.
The rules of ethics are not ends in themselves; rather, they exist for the sake of facilitating loving relationships and ensuring social harmony. Just as travel by automobile is only safe when the rules of the road are obeyed, so also family relationships are harmonious and loving when ethical standards are understood and observed.
When the family is ethical, harmony and genuine love can blossom among family members and extend from there to relationships in society.
In conclusion, ethical and loving relationships require both cultivation of heart and instruction in ethical standards. People educated in this way will naturally understand and live by ethical principles. They will become capable of creating a strong marriage, becoming an effective parent and, in general, living for a higher purpose and ideal.