Normally I’m a pretty fast reader, but life just gets in the way sometimes (and Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Arrested Development, and Remington Steele…). The last few weeks have been hectic and a little uncomfortable. Thinking over the last couple of weeks goes right along with what I’m reading in Ethical Ambition. As (potential) future professors, we will often be placed in positions where confrontation may be necessary. We may have to call out students for cheating, or our peers for cutting corners in research processes. When it comes to the tough moments like this, my first instinct is to run away. If I didn’t cause the trouble, then why do I have to deal with it?
But what is the cost of avoiding confrontation? In his book, Bell points out that whether I like it or not, I will likely be a role model to some people in the future. If I avoid confrontation or anything uncomfortable, I may actually be setting an unhealthy example. I love his quote on page 67:
If we sought to steer clear of situations that challenged us ethically we would make our lives extremely narrow – and not necessarily ethical.
At some point, when faced with a difficult situation we move from simply an onlooker to a responsible participant. It may not be fair and we may have done nothing to be a part of it, but it’s something we simply cannot avoid. When that time comes we must continue to make the ethical decisions both for ourselves and for those that look up to us.