Our Moral Compass: Are You On The List?

“The list is an absolute good. The list is life.”

-Schindler’s List

We are all familiar of the many uses and functions of lists. Lists for groceries. Lists for chores that need to be done around the house. Santa Clause’s naughty or nice list. You get the point. However there are lists out there that carry a lot of clout and have a much higher level of importance than what was mentioned. An example of this was Schindler’s List of the early 1940’s where Oskar Schindler helped protect his Jewish workers from deportation and death in the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. As mentioned in today’s quote this list, which represented over 1,200 Jews within his factory, was a list of absolute good and by all accounts was life. I believe when our time is done here on Earth that we ourselves hope that we are on a similar list in the eyes of others whether it be our loved ones or close friends. In doing so we are able to achieve that vision of what our moral compass was meant to be and to make it more so a reality.

To give you some backstory on German industrialist and a member of the Nazi Party Oskar Schindler, he was initially motivated by profit for his business and initially used Jews for his factory due to their cheap cost soon came to appreciate them. He came to show extraordinary initiative, tenacity, courage, and dedication to save the lives of his Jewish employees. Although he felt extreme guilt over all that had happened prior to his change of heart, his ability to turn around a once thought lost cause became a beacon of hope. The Jews that he saved presented him with a gift of a ring that had the following engraving: “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.” His moral compass, which once seemed incomplete and inadequate was now wholesome and pure.

We all have the opportunity to continuously work on our moral compass and it is important to remember that this work is truly never ending. It is that innate internal drive within on us all to be on the proverbial list that represents that absolute good we all seek. This can only be achieved by focusing on the five areas of Social Emotional Learning. If we look at the example of Oskar Schindler one more time we will see how these 5 areas came to be and complete his moral compass. Although it took some time, he began to recognize that what he once thought and valued had changed toward the treatment of the Jews. This became his self and social awareness moment. Schindler empathized with the Jews and made the conscious decision to devise a way to protect the Jews within his factory preventing them to be unnecessarily placed in Nazi concentration camps. Both responsible decision making and self management skills became evident during this time. During this time of protecting the Jews he began to develop a close bond with them and the gift of the engraved ring by the Jews thanking him was a testament to the strength of that relationship between them which represents the fifth and final area of SEL: relationship skills.

Schindler proved that it is never too late for anyone to change. We need to realize this and if need be rewrite our own life story and work towards being on that list of absolute good. There is no other list worth more to me than to be on this one.

What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards defining/refining your own moral compass?

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