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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Whatever happened to scruples?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

"There is nothing to winning, really. That is, if you happen to be blessed with a keen eye, an agile mind, and no scruples whatsoever " Alfred Hitchcock

Imagine if you will, seeing a couple of young kids standing in back at a local convenience store near the beverage fountains that ooze those slushy drinks.

"What are you doing?" the young girl asks the boy she is with. "We haven't paid yet."

"It's all right. No one cares," he says while emptying the cup and then refilling it again. "I do it all the time."

Cut to a grocery store across town, a frustrated father and two small, irritable and apparently hungry children are shopping.

"Take this," he says while opening a box of cookies from the shelf and handing it to the children. "We will get something to eat on the way home."

After 20 minutes shopping, he's ready to check out, but throws away the empty cookie box before arriving at the register.

Now join me for a picnic on a bright sunny afternoon in the park.

While enjoying lunch with your whole family, including the great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts and all the various ages of children, a group of what appears to be young teenage girls (13-15) passes by your table.

Although it is great to see young people doing something other than playing video games or staring blankly at a computer screen, it's hard to watch them "strut around" with shirts displaying derogatory slang that questions the wearer's parentage and "Daisy Duke shorts" that invite someone to "Spank Me."

When the look of horror can't be hidden from great-grandmother's face, one of the girls growls back a retort that would make a veteran sailor on leave blush.

Are you mortified, shocked, angry and or confused?

Do you even care?

Maybe you're wondering why I'm wasting your time with such trivial matters?

Maybe you think I'm a prude or a goody-two shoe?

Trust me, anyone who knows me knows that is not true.

But it does make me wonder: Are scruples a thing of the past?

The word scruple, in noun form, is described as being a doubt, hesitation or uneasiness as to what is morally right in a certain situation.

In its verb form, having scruples means to have doubts or anxieties about something, especially on moral grounds.

Whatever form, my Grandma Iva was a firm believer in scruples. For her, principles, morals and scruples worked hand in hand.

"When you want to know if something is right or wrong, God gave us the Bible as a guide to find out the truth. When you're wondering whether something was the right thing to do, God gives you principles so you can judge for yourself," she would say. "And God gave you scruples so that when your friends are encouraging you to "jump off that roof," you hesitate a moment, and hopefully rely on your principles, before doing something stupid or harmful to yourself or others."

Although I might have gotten a drink or opened a box of cookies in a store for my children when they were younger, my scruples made me pay for the items at the register.

Scruples keep my daughter from wearing any printed slang plastered across her bottom. And, while I have worn my share of humorous T-shirts and sometimes enjoy a naughty joke, I don't even want to think about how "Spank Me" would look like extended across my rump! Thank God for my scruples on that issue.

As for spitting out venomous language at an elderly person for the fun of it, my scruples and the thought of my grandmother rising from her grave to spiritually smack me stops that from happening.

What happened to principles, morals and scruples? Do families even discuss these things anymore?

Grandma Iva used to say it was parents' job to put the "fear of God and corporal punishment" into their children, that way "it cuts down on the amount of idiocy in the world."

She was a wise woman, don't you think?