Before I started this essay, I wanted to know exactly what “ethics” are defined as, so I consulted the only place that I thought could give me the answer I was looking for. You guessed it: Google. According to the world’s largest search engine, ethics are: Moral principles that govern a person's or group’s behavior.
Over the past sixteen years of my life, I’ve been shaping and molding my own set of moral principles and ethics. My religion, personal beliefs, my parents, and the community and society I’ve grown up in have all affected my ethics. The Jewish people have their own set of moral principles to gauge right and wrong. It’s called “The Ten Commandments;” given from God to Moses, and passed down through generations, this list of do’s and don’ts serves as a guide to basic morals (such as not committing murder, adultery, coveting your neighbor’s possessions, etc.). These commandments, some of which are just common courtesy, like not killing another person or sleeping with their spouse, have allowed the Jewish people to see the difference between right and wrong, and they still affect me today. I try not to act jealous of others if they have what I want, not because God commands me to, but because I know somewhere in the world, someone could want what I have. I should appreciate everything that I have and not concentrate on the things my friends or neighbors have.
My father and mother did a great job of instilling their own ethics in me, like any parents would do. The most commonly taught rule of thumb for the world, which every parent tells their child at a young age, is the Golden Rule: Do onto others as you would have them do onto you. At every point in their life, everyone has had someone say to them, “what if someone said/did that to you?” and there really is no response. You would either feel awful if you did something bad or good if you did something nice. To be honest, the only time I’ve ever had someone say that that to me is after I’ve done something bad. It’s used not only to make a child feel remorseful for their actions, but to also make them think. How would you feel if someone called you an idiot, or fat, or lazy, or gay? You would feel ostracized, which has actually been proven to cause physical pain. Since I don’t want to hurt anyone, I make a point everyday to smile at everyone I see. All my friends, acquaintances, even people I don’t like, because that’s just it. We’re all people and people deserve respect. That’s what I mold my ethics around. Every day, I learn more and more about others and respect them for who they are. My parents, community, society, and identity as a Jewish person have all shaped my ethics by one word: respect. That’s what makes me love my enemy, lend a hand to those in need, and most of all, smile at those I don’t know, just to make the world seem a little bit friendlier.
Ethics, a set of moral principles that govern a person’s life. For me, these are not just words but a way of life. You cannot live with these moral principles sometimes; you must live with these moral principles all the time. I realize, as the years go on, I will come across situations that will test my ethics. These decisions can affect my entire life. I am confident that all I have learned will allow me to make decisions with the highest ethics. This is how I will live my entire life.