Moral degeneration

“Hi! How are you and how do you do? My name is _____, who the hell are you!?” BEEP…

That was the answering machine message that greeted me when I was returning a call about an apartment this morning. The young lady was probably trying to be cute, but I found it slightly offensive. That message was rather mild compared to some of them I’ve had to listen to.

Being an apartment manager, I return numerous calls with only a phone number and perhaps a name or some other basic information about who’s calling. Most of the answering messages are generic, polite, or truely funny. However, there are others that are anything but polite. Loud vulgar music recordings, S..x offers, lots of cursing, insults, and even vague threats are just some of the things I’ve heard. Mostly it is young people who have these messages.

First impressions over the phone are everything in my business. I don’t mind leaving messages if someone has a polite message but I have been known to just hang up on the more offensive messages. I’m a pretty good judge of character. If you have a loud, offensive message, you probably won’t make a good tenant. This is speaking from experience, not just to be judgmental.

I can understand how like the girl this morning she was trying to be cute. Yet I wonder if she understands what kind of image this message portrays about her to strangers calling her. I doubt if I was the only apartment manager who will be returning calls to her.

This kind of moral downward creeping is slowly eroding societal values. Already foul language has become the norm. No longer is it considered offensive to most of our nation’s youth. However, it is a reversible trend if we are willing to stand up and let them know it is wrong and will not be tolerated. It isn’t funny or cute. It is crude and rude.

Unfortunately, this will be difficult considering how popular culture is now saturated with violence, casual s..x, and other behaviors that would have been censored even just 20 years ago. In some ways offensive language seems almost mild. Our young people are being trained to emulate these behaviors by having them under constant view in fictional media, music, and even the news. If a star does something good they get a few minutes of fame but if they do something wrong it is in the news for days or even weeks. We need to reverse what should be considered newsworthy in cases like that to downplay their bad behavior. We need to have more positive role models rather than negative.

The stars who do these behaviors should be held to a higher standard because they are in the public eye and have such an influence over our youth today. Our youth need to see that bad behavior has negative consequences. Instead they see the stars getting a slap on the wrist just to repeat the behavior again in the near future, usually getting lots of attention and media coverage in the process. Is this a double standard? Yes. However, if they are going to be role models they need to start acting like it rather than spoiled brats with no care to the consequences of their actions.

Parents, we need to take a stand and let our children and their friends know this kind of language and behavior won’t be tolerated. Take an active role in your child’s lives. Don’t try to be their best friend. You’re not! You’re their parent and therefore responsible for their conduct. Be firm and consistent. They won’t know it is wrong unless you tell them. Don’t assume they know.

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One Response

  1. I am currently involved in research regarding phones and phone history and features etc, so this has been useful.

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