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The Breakdown of Social Mores




By:  Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D.

Fort Fairfield Journal, December 7, 2016


      The social customs and mores where men held the door for ladies, we didn’t air our family’s “dirty laundry” or talk about our problems in public and for the most part put a pleasant face forward when interacting with people in public was what held societies together for thousands of years.  These customs and mores began to disintegrate around the 1960s or 70s when we decided to take all the accumulated wisdom of the ages and just toss it out the window.  We did this thinking that since we were so modern  we were just going to find a whole new way to do this social experiment called living in society with each other.  However, when we tossed those rules out the window we actually created a less civil and less happy society.

   Think about it, what was the promise of the 1960s and 70s?  All that freedom and liberation, women's lib and sexual liberation, let it all hang out, do your own thing, there's no morality, anything goes, you choose, as long as you don't hurt anybody else you can do, think, be, feel,  believe, say, act in any way you want.   We were promised back then that if we behaved this way we would somehow achieve some new, unfettered level of ultimate freedom and happiness.  Instead, what we've achieved is a tremendous degree of coarseness, rudeness, reality TV hair pulling “cat-fightness” in our society that has led to a breakdown of a lot of the social niceties, a lot of the politeness, a lot of the normal things that formerly kept us working together.

   It's probably no coincidence that we have ever-increasing rates of mental illness, general unhappiness, depression, malaise, all kinds of problems.  I think a big part of that is because we human beings are wired to be social creatures and to be social means to get along with each other.

   Really, at the end of your life do you think you’ll look back on all your patents, your chemical formulas, all the real estate you sold, or your material possessions?  No, at the end of a person's life they look back on their relationships:  who loved them, how well were they loved, how well did they love and how successful were their relationships.  Our happiness, our internal satisfaction is based for almost all of us on our relationships with other people. 

   Nothing can make you unhappy faster than to have your relationships break down, your marriage fall apart, your kids dislike you, your parents tell you you're worthless.  These are the things that destroy you.  These are the things that can truly chip away at your well-being.  I believe that this move towards “just express it,” “just wear it on your face,” “say what you think,” “get it out of your system” of the 1960s and 70s was a mistake.  

   Perhaps we may never return to the world of Andy Griffith's Mayberry but we could at least start by being nicer to each other and stop being so mean  and negative in our interactions with our family members, or other people while in public.  But it’s more than that.  As Jesus said, not only are we to love our neighbors as ourselves, but, something much more difficult.  He said to, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matt. 5:44).

   There’s not a lot in this world you can change or control, but the one thing you do have control over is yourself and how you react and interact with other people—how you make them feel.   Now, go make the world a better place be.








This editorial was transcribed and adapted for print from a recent Katherine Albrecht radio program, by David Deschesne, with her permission. Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D. is a syndicated radio talk show host on the Genesis Communication Network. Listen to her program live daily, or download her podcast for listening at any time at Katherine’s website is: 


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