The word for the week of February 10, 2014 is “moral compass” (okay, that is two words). These two words used together are important – very important. In the legal profession, we must use a moral compass because we meet people who have lost their way. We have to make sure, at all time, that we do not head in the wrong direction also.
Take time to meditate about the meaning of the word “moral compass” to you. The purpose of this exercise is to help you be a happy lawyer.
Read this entire post. Then find a quiet place. Put your feet on the floor. Take four deep breaths in and out.
In order to help you meditate on the word “moral compass”, I would like to share the information below.
for some strange reason, it is difficult to find the meaning of the word “moral compass”. Does that mean that the word has the meaning that we give to it or that the word has little meaning in today’s society. I will go with the explanation that the word “moral compass” has individual meaning. Some meanings may include:
- a devise used used by a person to assist to guide what is right and wrong and act accordingly;
- a innate feeling that allows people to know what is right and wrong and how they should behave;
- an individual’s natural instinct to do what is right and avoid doing wrong; and
- an individual’s conscience.
The phrase “moral compass” calibrates concepts of morality, conscience, ethics, virtue, justice, compassion and principles. It is so important that each lawyer has one and uses it.
There are few famous quotations about the word “moral compass”. Here is a selection:
- Tabatha Coffey – “Sometimes, in order to follow our moral compass and/or our heart, we have to make unpopular decisions or stand up for what we believe in.”
- Gary Wolf – “Our self is just our operational center, our consciousness our moral compass. So, if we want to act more effectively in the world, we have to get to know ourselves better.
- Marcus Aurelius – “Because your own strength is unequal to the task, do not assume that it is beyond the powers of man; but if anything is within the powers and province of man, believe that it is within your own compass also.”
- Vincent Van Gough – “Conscience is a man’s compass.”
I should add a quote from my personal journal that is not famous:
- “It is important to have a moral compass and use a moral compass to answer the big questions and the small questions that arise in the legal profession and in life. We need to stop and pause to ensure that we are headed in the right direction. If we do not check our moral compass and ensure that it is calibrated, we may find that we are so off the path we cannot go back.”
A “moral compass” is a fundamental tool for those in the legal profession. There is no device that is more powerful and necessary. It is more important than a computer, a smart phone or the telephone. We cannot do engage in our noble profession without a moral compass. Our mentors taught us how to use a moral compass and lawyers have a duty to show new lawyers and students how to use a moral compass. We pass this tool and skills to use it from generation to generation within the legal profession. We have to ensure that it is not just a symbol or perceived to be real.
Our moral compass guides us to ensure that there is access to justice. Our moral compass shows us that is is right to engage in charitable acts towards others. Lawyers to provide pro bono legal services use a moral compass to direct them to act.
After your meditation, please share: What does the word “moral compass” mean to you?