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Good behavior is a key aspect of human character and social life. Since the beginning of history, the life of man has been characterized by his social interactions and the ability to cope in different circumstances. As a result, every society focuses at instilling acceptable behaviors among its members through varying approaches including but not limited to religious teachings, establishment of rules and regulations and adoption of code of ethics. The understanding of good behavior is therefore of paramount importance in upholding social values for harmonic day-to-day social-coexistence. What are social norms?
These are societal expectations and standards which determine human interactions and behavior (Hechter and Opp, 3). They coordinate daily relationships among society members without which friction and animosity grows. Norms define the manner in which particular things have to be done and are usually passed on from generation to generation. It is therefore very possible to find varying social norms as we move from one social setting to another. Of significance is the fact that basic social norms cut across cultures of the world. Those who do not adhere to social norms are always punished or considered social misfits.
It is worth noting that social norms govern an array of phenomena such as concepts of law and justice, marital and property rights, communication and contracts among others (Sharma and Malhotra, 63). They augment uniform behavior in a social group like family, school, workplace, or even the entire nation. Another aspect of social norms is that they may change or shift with time due to future expectations or cultural deviations caused by factors like modernity and civilization. Common unethical behaviors, which render some members of a society unfit, include stealing, cheating, murder and arrogance among others. Although every society has norms, it is clear that breaking of these rules is common in most social settings.
I have personally faced lying head on especially while studying in high school. As many would testify, a school is viewed as an experimental ground where young people are vulnerable to breaking common social norms. I was honest in my daily activities and interactions until my friends and classmates influenced me. Since we were in a boarding school, interactions with our family members were minimal and they rarely knew what exactly happened in school. I took this as an opportunity to unlawfully get money from my parents. I always used fabricated information to convince my parents about my financial needs in school. In collaboration with my friend Shem, we tricked our parents every month including pretending to be sick or in need of money to pay for an academic tour being organized by the school.
Notably, many students had no idea of what was happening in my life and how I was receiving huge amounts of money every now and then. However, to the few who understood this wicked approach to life, they reacted in a manner that left me without friends apart from my colleague and friend Shem, whom we had unacceptable similarity. No one was willing to interact with me in the entire class including students from other levels in the school. I was considered as the most wicked and dishonest student in the entire history of the school and failed to understand the cause of moral decay which was affecting my relationships with other students.
I was nicknamed all negative names as they threatened to report my case to the school administration. The loss of my friends was a big blow; it left like a social misfit. They demonstrated odd behavior and attitude towards my tainted character. I was left with nobody to consult academically, lived a lonely and isolated life until I realized that in deed what I had considered, as a way of obtaining money from my parents through lying was not socially acceptable.
Generally, the reaction of my friends towards my lying character was quite important in shaping my social life. I learned the significance of social norms and the cost of breaking any one of them. Although I had not imagined of such a reaction from friends, it was a turning point point that shaped my current reputable honesty. It is therefore appreciable to fully keep and observe society rules and regulations in order to realize behavior equilibrium in our social interactions.