In my post on Monday, I wrote about teenagers and racial tensions.

I was nervous about this post for several reasons.

First, racial issues are touchy. As a white woman, I have a hard time writing and talking about race. I worry I always sound…lacking. But I think it’s important, even critical, to talk about race, so I push through my discomfort and do it anyway.  So I was grateful for the supportive comments.

Second, I used the word “moral.”  Here is what I said:

The teenagers’ actions in Jena, Louisiana typify how this deep passion and commitment can go terribly array if it is not respected and directed by a moral upbringing and by caring, present adults.

The word “moral” has some serious baggage to it these days. We tend to think of the conservative, religious right when we hear “moral.” So I feel the need to explain my use of the word, because I intend to claim it, own it, and use it.

I have recently been reading blogs and writings about adolescent sexuality written by those on the side of the conservative, religious right. I got started with Mrs. Y’s blog Stork! Stork!, which I like. I find Mrs. Y to be realistic, accepting, and loving in her approach to adolescent sexuality education. I have found many other blogs and writings which I don’t like because they are close-minded, anti-sexuality, and sexist.

What almost all of these blogs and writings from the right have in common is this word: moral. And I like it. I like the word. I like what it implies. And here is what I understand the word to mean:

moral–kind, appropriate, the correct distinction between right and wrong, truth, upright, honorable, goodness and correctness of behavior and action

These are all things that I think are good. And none of them directly pertain to the religious or political right any more than they do to the religious or political left. So help me define this word.

In the comments, provide examples of how morality applies to adolescents and to sexuality. What are your experiences with moral or immoral behavior? How do you help a child become a moral person? Or are children innately moral? I would love to see a discussion on this get going, because I think it’s one of the left’s downfalls that we don’t claim morality as an important value.