Ethics

I will always try to do what is right and to become a better person.

Ethical development refers to how we train ourselves to do the right thing in different circumstances. It is a never-ending process that requires us to consider carefully when we make choices, their effect on other people and the environment. Fairness, cooperation, telling the truth, and sharing are examples of good ethical development. New challenges and concerns arise as times change and different factors need to be recognised. We should continually think and adapt with the goal of becoming better human beings.

Activity 1 – Picking Mangoes


You and a friend go to climb a tree to pick mangoes on a shamba close to the school, even though you know it is out of bounds. Your friend falls and breaks an arm. What will you do? Will you go to the farmer for help, even though you know you should not have been on the land? Do you go off to hospital with your friend or leave him and go back to school? Do you admit at school what has happened, even though you could be in trouble?

Discuss the options in a group. Do you all agree about what is right? Is it better to lie about what happened or to tell the truth and face the consequences?

Have you experienced a situation where you were unsure where to turn for help or were scared about telling the truth to someone because they may get mad?

Activity 2 – Treating the Sick

Your local hospital is lacking sufficient trained doctors and nurses and is also short of medicines and equipment. So many people are seriously ill in the area that the hospital is finding it difficult to cope. They cannot treat everyone, so who should they choose to help?

  • Should they work on a first come-first served basis and see the patients in turn as they come to the hospital. Once the hospital is full the rest do not get treated.
  • Should they examine everyone quickly and choose to treat those people who they think are (a) in the greatest danger to their health, or (b) most likely to recover. The latter may mean helping the young and neglecting the old.
  • Should richer people with money be able to buy treatment and leave those with no money to go without?

Doctors have to make decisions like this all the time. What should a caring dictor do when:

  • the patient’s disease is curable?
  • the patient is incurable?
  • the patient is really famous?
  • the patient has some other disability, which might affect their survival chance?
  • the patient is a relative or friend of the doctor?
  • the patient is mean and bad tempered?
  • the patient is nice?

When you are deciding what to do please remember to apply the Ten Humanist Commitments.


Do what is right, not what is easy.


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