Wednesday, February 17, 2016



     Americans, for the most part, are a friendly people full of compassion for others. With the exception  of filling out income tax returns, giving our life story during job interviews or setting the zero adjust on the bathroom scale, we are basically on honest lot. 
     What I like most about Americans is that they strive to be a moral people who don't merely aim to be good, but yearn to be good for something. This is why America's laws are rooted in morality, for our principled citizenry will engage in civil disobedience if dubious laws interfere with their sense of morals and prevent them from doing what's right.  

      I'll never forget a member of my community who formed a local movement called "People for Peace and Justice Sandusky County." She exemplifies this American moral sense. She was deeply bothered by the government's use of torture at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in Cuba and even though she protested it peacefully, she was arrested for disorderly conduct.  Facing the Superior Court magistrate in D.C., she simply stated, "We are representing ourselves to use our voices."
    This lady embodies America's sense of morality. Because of the numerous political, environmental, social/cultural, religious and financial issues that divide us, maybe we should individually ask ourselves “moral fiber” questions. Do you really know what you want in life? Do you ever think about the contributions you desire to make in the world...the honorable or righteous goals you would like to achieve? What do you like and dislike?
     Your answers don't have to be grandiose; simply focus on what‘s truly ethically significant to you.
     So, how can we find our moral compass that's uniquely American? Try this activity from my book Finding Happiness in America- it's called "Happy 88th birthday!" Think about the qualities which you admire and either have or yearn to strive for, then pretend it’s your 88th birthday. You are living in a nursing home and spend the time recollecting every meaningful person throughout your life and the role you played with them. Your roles with them may have been father, mother, daughter, son, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, teacher, student, manager, co-worker, child, community servant, neighbor, grandmother, grandfather, in-law, relative, niece, nephew or cousin.
     Suddenly, they all visit at once to give you a surprise birthday party! Now, think about what each of these people would say about you or, better yet, what you would like them to say. Spend some time doing this.
     Next, switch back to the "here and now" and do some soul-searching. Ask yourself what differences have you made or could you make in their lives? What outstanding contributions and commitments can you make now that they won't forget and will still remember when your age 88? Think about the person you’d like to become and the legacy you'd like to leave behind.
     In the "Finding Happiness" process, I encourage you to imagine yourself not as you are, but as the person you’d like to become. Since we all become what we think about, you will gradually become that person. Begin the journey now, and remember, you can always contact me on the Secure Contact Form for questions on going through it.

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. has retired from his positions as school psychologist and adjunct professor in the School of Leadership & Policy Studies at Bowling Green State University. He authors the book, "Finding Happiness in America".(Click HERE for Kindle edition).