My Moral Development and My Body
Prepare dinner for my child or go hang out at the coffee shop with friends? Leave the kids home alone while napping or stay put even though I really want to pick up a couple items from the store? Give my kids a few pounds of junk food so they'll leave me alone or sit down and read a book together? Wake up when my children are sick in the middle of the night and care for them or holler at them that they are keeping me awake and to knock it off?
Seems kinda like a bunch of no-brainer questions. Of course I'm going to care for my kids. It doesn't matter how much I yearn for a break or day free of responsibilities, my kids come first. I'm going to feed them and care for them and talk with them and enjoy them. When I'm tired and sick and feverish, I'm still going to try my best to make sure they are safe and emotionally secure. I'm going to falter and fail at times, but overall, my intention and my efforts are pretty darn solid. The result is that they are going to be pretty decent kids for the most part. And when they start really choosing their own path, they'll always know I love them and care for them regardless of what path they take. (At least I sure hope so)
So why don't I have this same sense of moral obligation for my BODY which is my vehicle, my house, my sanctuary, my vessel that carries everything about me around???
There was this dude named Kohlberg who studied our levels of moral development. There are those who have questioned his research methods or the validity of his conclusions, but overall, it's some pretty good stuff to think and ponder on. It goes like this:
There are three levels of moral development. Within each level there are two subsets. We begin life at the lowest of the three levels and hopefully progress forward. He found, through interviewing and observing children of different ages over time that they went through these stages of moral development. However, he also found that not so many reached the highest level.
Well gosh - the highest level? If there's a highest level, I admit I want to be there!
- Level One (Pre-Conventional)
- 1. Obedience and punishment (How can I avoid punishment?)
- 2. Self-interest orientation (What's in it for me?)
- Level Two (Conventional)
- 3. Interpersonal accord and conformity (Social norms - I want others to like me!)
- 4. Authority and social-order (If one person steals, everyone might, so I won't)
- Level Three (Post-Conventional)
- 5. Social contract orientation (People have different beliefs. Laws are not set in stone things, but social contracts to help us all, so I'll go along with the majority rule)
- 6. Universal ethical principles (Because it's the right thing to do for everyone and laws are only valid if they are just)
- So I read through them and as far as my kids go - heck yeah - I'm pretty moral. I take care of my kids because it's the right thing to do. I don't take care of them because my neighbors are watching or I might catch someone's snippy Facebook post. I don't always know the best way to handle a situation, but then I look for information and read and reflect and try to figure it out. I don't just do what MaryJane down the street told me is the "Right" way and the "Only" way to do things because kids are different and not all scenarios are so cut and dry. I struggle to be a good mom - to be the best mom my kids could get. I try and I don't mind being tired out by the process.
- But when it comes to my body....oye vay!
- I have been taking care of my body very well for the past three months. I've been eating real foods, free from additives and sugars and I've been sticking to foods that my system can process more easily. It definitely feels good and I know I'm doing all the right stuff and I'm doing it for the right reasons - even pretty high up there moral reasons.
- But you know...the reason I'm not going to have a beer or cheese roll or pizza tonight is because my body will probably react to it with an asthma attack.
- So what level does that put me on? ONE! Level One! I avoid unhealthy foods so that I won't be punished. My goodness am I shallow.
- Here I have gone most of three months eating well and feeling the benefits of it and feeling content that I'm nourishing my body and caring for myself. I've cooked great meals, used great ingredients and felt no guilt whatsoever that my health ills are caused by me. Seems like I'd be kinda up there on the moral development, but I'm not. Maybe my motivation to eat well was on the higher stages, but as soon as I kick this cold, I plan to go out and eat onion rings - deep fried, soaked in sugar onion rings. With a beer. And then a burger. My husband and I have to celebrate our anniversary and we want to eat out.
- What would be best for my body? Eating in. Eating these healthy foods which I can see daily are allowing my body to feel healthier and heal.
- If it was a question of what was best for my kid? Well, heck. It's a no-brainer. I'd rise to the occasion. But with my body - it's still going to be a struggle because I just haven't really truly internalized the need to care for my body on such a responsible level.
- I'm getting there, but I'm more like a six year old. No, maybe a pre-teen.