Who is right? Who is wrong? Correctness? Core? Values? Appropriate? Morality? These words inevitably came to my mind when I started my reflection /brainwork about “The Good”. I hadn’t finished squeezing my brain for new concepts when the word “ethical” uttered its presence from an appendix of the definition of “the good”. After analyzing Chapter One of Communication Ethics Literacy, I realized that these concepts which the book addresses will be invaluable tools for me. I can reassure that they will be the framework of my future endeavors in my professional life.
The authors claimed that “the question is not who is who is not ethical, but what set of ethics we and others seek to protect and promote and why.” (Arnett, Fritz & Bell, 2009, p. 8). I can’t agree more on this concept. Applying my most basic analytical posture, I recognized that I have never thought about the definition of “Good”. I never contemplated in my critical or noncritical thinking the definition as a description of “central value or set of values manifested in communicative practices that we seek to protect and promote in our discourse together.” (Arnett, Fritz & Bell, 2009, p. 2).
Therefore, when the authors mentioned the need for a “map of the goods” (Arnett, Fritz & Bell, 2009, p. 12), I immediately thought about my own “map of the goods”.
Do I have a guide in my life? What does Hirania define as good? Which are the components of my map?
I have to confess that I have been hard on myself for many years. With a lot of self-criticisms, observation of my actions, feelings, and thoughts, I have learned to pamper myself. I have learned to accept myself fully and completely. As a result of my hard work, I can say that I currently have a better map of my goods.
My map is my personal compass that drives my actions and my behavior. It guides how I express my feelings and emotions. Ultimately, it is my tool that makes me accountable for my successes or failures.
This is my private map that I have assembled as a daily commitment to myself. As part of my “communication ethics”, I am always open to modifying or changing principles on my “map of the goods” because I am conscious that I am living in a challenging world where diversity and respect for others should always be a civil duty.
With this in mind, here are My Top Ten Goods:
1- Help my daughter find her own goods: Raising a child in this hostile world is a true challenge. My number one priority is to teach my only daughter to live with compassion and humility.
2- Health: I need to stay healthy not only because I am battling along with my daughter’s chronic medical condition, but also because every single day we take decisions that mark the difference between life and death. I value the benefits of eating nutritious, reading about earthy meals, working out at least three times per week, practicing yoga, sleeping, resting my brain and doing nothing absolutely nothing when possible.
3- Communicating and behaving in the best way possible: Developing a true communication with other individuals is important. Moreover, engaging in thoughtful conversations where I give my interlocutor the attention that he deserves is essential. I am working more on being a “true listener”.
4- Be honest with myself: If I am able to communicate with myself in the most genuine and sincere way, I will be more effective communicating with others.
5- Sharing the best of my qualities with my partner: I value the love and support of my partner. I verbally express to him my respect and appreciation for his unconditional support, for being a good father, for being a provider, and for being an impeccable human being.
6- My career progress: I feel the necessity of working and offering my knowledge as a journalist and a communicator. It is my duty.
7- Volunteering and helping: I experience an intangible satisfaction when I help or assist others in need.
8- Be fully present: I continue working on my plan to live without fear, to express my emotions and feelings even though some of these do not please others. With time and maturity, I have learned that I can not please everybody. I have also learned to respond and react better towards conflictive situations or individuals.
9- Practice and express my faith: I am developing an insightful wisdom that I am not alone in my decisions and actions. Despite coming from an atheist country (Cuba), I have discovered that God is my guide, my strength, and my confident. I have learned to find peace in the most turbulent and challenges times of my life.
10- Advocate for single moms: Since I experienced for many years the challenge of raising a child without a paternal figure, I advocate for single moms that are living through this demanding situation of having no financial and emotional support. I treat these women with respect and dignity, without bias, stigmas or stereotypes.
One of the most brilliant statements from our book is when the authors state that “every ethical position lives in a given situation, ground, and bias. Postmodernity does not tell us what is ethical. It requires that we know what our ethical position is, learn that of the other, and figure out how to communicate our own position and negotiate the difference that we encounter.” (Arnett, Fritz & Bell, 2009, p. 16).
My responsibility as a mother, partner, communicator, journalist, daughter, friend, and an individual is to realize that in this postmodern era our duty is to learn, embrace the difference, to be flexible of changing the course of our life, and assimilate that “communication ethics mantra moves to learning, no longer resting in the taken-for-granted.” (Arnett, Fritz & Bell, 2009, p. 19).
Arnett, R. C., Fritz, J. M. H., & Bell, L. M. (2009). Communication ethics literacy: Dialogue and difference. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.