The definition for moral behavior has changed over the years. Morals in the 50’s are not morals of present day. In the 50’s it was immoral to have a baby and not be married (out of wedlock). In fact, it was not moral to have sex with a person, outside of marriage, much less with many people just for the fun of it.
Decent behavior is also different from years ago. Fifty years ago, it was not decent to show your belly button. Now, we show a whole lot more of our body than just a belly button and it might be pierced, too. Tattoos were only seen on military men. It was not decent to deface buildings, but now we have amazing graffiti artists painting on their canvases – buildings. Same gender sex was considered highly immoral and not decent. People “whispered” about such people. It was also not proper for two people of the same gender to marry. Now we have some "gay" friends, and many states have made same sex marriages legal.
Proper behavior has also changed. It was proper, at one time, to ask the father for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Today, the father might not even have met the person marrying his daughter, much less approve of him or her. It was not proper for a man to keep his hat on inside a building or in the presence of a lady. Hats do not come off for either of these reasons today. They remain permanently fixed, unless the man is “of a certain age.” These older men are dying out as time progresses. So are the customs of proper behavior for that age group (my age group).
Now the big thing is to realize that today we have many people who have different definitions for ethical behavior. Their definitions are determined by how and when they were raised. The challenge is not for the young to conform, but for us older people to adjust. It is hard to give up our beliefs, but we can modify them, as many of us have regarding sex, graffiti, and gay marriage. We old people can move with the times if we want to and if we try. Remember, we are the generation that wore our hair “down to there,” had “free love,” danced to “rock and roll,” experimented in alcohol and marijuana, and basically horrified our parents.
We cannot control the evolution of “ethical behavior.” It is going to change and we will not be able to stop it. We can, however, try to be more understanding as our young people experiment with changing the mores. We do not have to be rigid in our beliefs, unless we want to do so. Then, we will be “out” of the “in circle” and alone with those who do not move forward with times.
I have always tried to be more liberal than rigid in my beliefs. It has caused me some grief, but I feel good about my ability to move forward with the times. Granted I am not “one” with a lot of what goes on, but I try to give benefit of the doubt to those I do not understand. In order to function in today’s different world, I feel I must.