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DUncia M. Elliott Composition II Todays Society In the 21st century, society no longer teaches moral conduct to new generations.

It appears that with each new generation society gets worse. According to James Lancaster, Issues of morality, including deciding among competing values and negotiating obligations to self and community, are pervasive and saturate many aspects of life (51). Apparently I am not the only one who realizes the decline of moral ethics in the United States. Much of todays media, which formerly portrayed good American behavior, now publish more of the negative happenings in the U.S. due to their greater societal appeal. American society should begin teaching and exemplifying morals the way it did in times past. The prevalence of teenage pregnancy, violence, the number of deficient homes, the divorce rate, poverty and suicide rates have all increased. It appears that society no longer cares about what happens to the next person. In previous societies and generations, people were more loving and polite, and they did not take their way of living for granted.

There are approximately 750,000 American teens that get pregnant each year, resulting in approximately 400,000 teen births (Family Planning Plus). The reason why this number continues to increase is because the majority of the parents are having children when they are teenagers. The majority of U.S. teenagers are living in deficient homes, meaning that the homes are unstable, abusive, or lacking either one or both parents. Seventy-one percent of pregnant teenagers in the United States lack a father (Holmgren). This could mean that those children may not be receiving proper parental guidance and simply could be learning from observation of others actions. With this being said, children born to teenagers have an increased likelihood of becoming teenage parents, creating a pattern that could be considered a generational curse. A major issue with teen pregnancy is that society frowns upon it, but seemingly no longer contends that it warrants attention as a major issue. Instead, news

stories about trivial things such as celebrity sexual relations with one another take precedence over the issue of teenage pregnancy.

Violence in America has gotten out of hand. In 2014 alone, there have been 2,597 violent crimes in Little Rock, Arkansas and 1,214,464 violent crimes nationwide (Neighborhood Scout). This number will likely continue to increase as the year progresses. Locally, gun violence has caused a serious issue. In my own studies, via social media and love ones, I have heard of approximately 20-30 local deaths caused by guns this year. It is staggering to hear about so many lives being lost because of gun violence. What is more disturbing is that the nation feels that guns should not be abolished as a whole, but that, instead, we should create more laws that surround them. The problem with that concept is that even if a gun owner has a permit for the gun, there is still a high probability that the gun will be used in an act of violence. On the one hand, many say that guns are a necessity in America and that without them the world would not be a safe place. Police officers would not be able to protect and serve, nations would not be able to protect themselves from other countries during war, Americans would not be able to protect themselves from the increasing violence, and so on. To an extent, those claims are very much true. On the other hand, however, the claim that the world without guns would not be a safe place rebuts itself. In fact, one of the reasons the nation is not safe is because of guns.

Eighty-five percent of all children who show signs of behavior disorders come from fatherless homes 20 times the average (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Seventy-one percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes- 9 times the average (National Principals Association report). There are, however, plenty of fatherless homes where the children do not have behavior issues or fall into any of the above-mentioned categories. Instead, they learn from the lack of parenting and grow up to do something greater with their lives. They make the decisions that they are going to be productive and give back to their families. Not all fatherless homes suffer to negative actions.

In past times, divorce was not an option. Even if the marriage was permanently broken the two people were unlikely to divorce. According to the American Psychological association, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce, with an even higher rate of divorce for subsequent marriages. This is something that the media is not talking about. Most divorces cause a great deal of pain in the hearts of the divorcing couples and their families and should not be taken lightly. A bad end to a marriage could result in violence, which is never the way to go. Moral conduct on how to have a healthy relationship is not priority anymore.

Poverty and suicide are two of societys biggest issues. The media does talk about this problem; however, the situation addressed stops there. It appears that people do not care enough to help out the less fortunate. As a result of be homeless, suicide is possible. Studies show that 4.5% of U.S. deaths were found to be attributable to poverty. (Death by poverty?) Suicide alone has become an increasingly overwhelming problem. Most suicides are happening because of bullying, poverty, unemployment, divorce, and violence such as rape. There were 38,364 deaths caused by suicide in 2013 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The majority of suicides happen by firearm. People in other countries think that U.S citizens are living the golden life. They are only looking at the things the media portrays because they are on the outside looking in. When they get the chance to visit the U.S., they see that the country is not as it has been portrayed. There are people living in poverty in every city and state.

In my opinion, todays society cares more about getting rich than helping one another, although the importance of teaching good moral standards should be more important than financial gain. There is a belief among some that poor people are happier than the wealthy because of the burdens that comes with having wealth. That is not always the case but there are quite a number of occasions of where this is true. Wealth should not be one of the greatest necessities in life. There is so much more in life than

wealth. If there were more people willing to be humble and help someone else besides themselves then this nation might not be heading into the path of destruction.

The necessity of behaving in love and compassion is more important than getting revenge. Revenge makes for a more violent society. In the book Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing, the author states, I will argue here than an integrated attitude of unconditional genuine forgiveness is morally worthy, and that it is therefore important that we try to cultivate this attitude in ourselves as a regular response to wrongdoing (Holmgren). From the government to common people, society teaches revenge above forgiveness. This will not make a safe environment for the generations to come. Someone has to be the bigger person and forgive. The older generations used the bible as a guide for moral conduct. To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. (King James Bible, Deut. 32:35).

The importance of building people up takes precedence over pride. Peace and better interactions with others are essential. We should spend more time on assisting others and less time bullying. This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedience to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. (King James Bible, 2 Tim. 3:1-4). This particular passage talks about the time during which the end of the world will come. There are people who neither believe in what the bible says nor the bible itself. My stand point on this matter is that this is exactly how the world is now. Whether a believer of the bible or not, the bible was written over 2000 years ago, and 2000 years later the country is doing the exact same thing the bible said would be done.

The media shows negative images for society to follow. They might say they show the life that happens in America. The lack of building others up causes bitterness which, in turn, causes other issues or conflict. Some can add that everyone has their fair chance of living in this dog eat dog life. As a society we need to show more love, compassion, sincerity, and good moral conduct. The lack of teaching morality has caused America to slowly decline in every aspect of life, except war. Teaching morals increases the chance of a better life and nation.

Works Cited

N.P. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends. 21 Nov. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

N.P. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 201- Emergency Department Summary Tables, table 17. 30 Dec. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2014

Death by poverty? Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. National Institutes of Health. N.P. 16 Jun. 2011. Web. 16 Apr. 2014

N.P. Family Planning Plus. WIC, the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. 13 Jan. 2013. Web. Apr. 2014

N.P. Fatherless Generation. US Dept. of Health/Census, Center for Disease Control, Justice and Behavior, National Principals Association Report. N.D. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

Holmgren, Margaret R. Forgiveness and Retribution: Responding to Wrongdoing. New York. Cambridge University Press. 2012. eBook.

The King James Bible. Ed. Nelson. 1665. Print.

Lancaster, James. Conduct Systems Designed To Promote Moral Learning. New Direction For Student Services. Academic Journal. 51-61. EBSCO Host. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.

N.P. American Psychological Association. Encyclopedia of Psychology. N.D. Web. 15 Apr. 2014

N.P. Neighborhood Scout. N.D. Web. 21 Apr. 2014