Maybe We’re Worrying Too Late About the Moral Problems of College Students

I confess: I drank too often and too much in college. I went to college unprepared for the effort of serious learning and was shocked at the discovery. Lacking something in my moral character, I fell into evil ways. Yes, evil. And those were evil ways which can flourish in a society in which young men and young women are raised to be good, pliable targets for the exploiters of the marketplaces of the modern world. Once trained to long for the latest toy or the latest breakfast cereal, should we be surprised that they have little self-control when faced with the temptations of life on their own?

In a word, we don’t raise our children to be morally well-formed creatures possessing not only a knowledge of moral principles but also good habits. And then, having failed in our responsibilities, we send them off into the world, to college or into the corporate world. Even those who live near a good extended family might well play softball with guys who head right off to a bar after each game, not for a beer and some good debates about the pennant race but rather for six or seven beers and some increasingly irrational arguments.

You shouldn’t even have to think about saying, “No,” to a party you know is going to be a falling-down drunk-fest when you’re in college to learn, supposedly something of a moral adult and ready to be turned into a cultured and perhaps productive moral adult. Well, a frighteningly high percentage of college students drink heavily and always will when they’re not properly formed in their moral characters. See Not All University Students Will ‘Mature Out’ Of Heavy Drinking Habits for a study showing that some of them keep those heavy drinking habits when they leave college. Maybe we should be putting in the hours and efforts to develop moral character — habits first and then powers of reasoning — in our children? Maybe we should be more careful about the television shows and movies they see. Maybe we should be careful they admire their hardworking, if somewhat boring, grandparents instead of drug-using athletes or drunken singers.

One decidedly useful advice which can be derived from this study is: be especially careful how you raise your children if you’re an alcoholic or if you have three alcoholic siblings or maybe an alcoholic parent.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Education, Modern culture, Moral Formation, Moral issues

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