Ethics in Business: Faith at Work

By James M. Childs Jr. | Go to book overview

10

BEYOND THE
COMPANY WALLS

When I was about eleven years old, I had an enormous crush on a beautiful little girl who lived nearby. I carried that torch all the way into my teens! One day, as I was playing near her house, my football accidentally rolled onto the newly seeded lawn that her father had just finished planting and rolling out. For a brief moment I considered dashing onto the lawn, grabbing the ball, and running like crazy, but I did not.

I left the ball lying there, walked home, and told my father what had happened. Dad walked me back to her home, and together we talked to her dad, who found the solution to the problem. He got a clothespole long enough to reach the ball and roll it off the lawn without anyone having to step on it. I said I was sorry that it happened. However, her father said that he was grateful to me for being so conscientious; most kids would have run onto the lawn without caring, he said. Later Dad told me he was proud of me.

Apparently I did the right thing, but the point is not to tell you what a good boy I was, which would be immodest and probably untrue. I want to reflect instead on what I learned about ethics from this experience.

I said it would be untrue to picture myself as morally precocious at age eleven because my motives were not all that lofty. First of all, I was doubtless anxious to stay on good terms with the family given my passionate feelings for their daughter. (That did no good, by the way; I never did succeed at winning her heart, only her friendship.) Second, I was also motivated by the fear of consequences, should I be caught doing the wrong thing. My erstwhile girlfriend's father was, it seemed to me, a stern and strict man. Getting caught wrecking his lawn in pursuit of my errant football was sure to have a terrible end. My behavior was not morally significant as a reflection of high-minded motives, but what I learned about ethics on that occasion was significant.

-136-

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Ethics in Business: Faith at Work
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1: Bridging the Shareability Gap 1
  • 2: From Being a Nobody to Being a Somebody 14
  • 3: The Not-So-Secular World 28
  • 4: From Dualism to Dialogue 42
  • 5: Beyond the Moral Minimum 56
  • 6: Beyond Leadership to Servant Leadership 71
  • 7: Beyond Affirmative Action 86
  • 8: Beyond Mere Survival 102
  • 9: Beyond Certainty 121
  • 10: Beyond the Company Walls 136
  • Notes 149
  • Index 163
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