Taking personal responsibility to uphold what is pure, right and true.
Justice is any expression of personal responsibility to uphold integrity, whether the integrity of a legal system, a moral code, or a personal promise. Justice is taking every possible opportunity to stand for what is right. Right and wrong are not always easy to distinguish. Real life involves frequent dilemmas in which the right and the wrong are difficult to identify and many give up and conclude that one can never really know what is right and what is wrong. Hold fast to the certainty that there is a right and there is a wrong - and justice endeavors persistently to understand and uphold what is right.
The first hall of justice is not the courtroom, but the conscience. Justice is realized only as men, women, and children make just decisions and live morally and legally upright lives. The ancient Greek Philosopher Plato addressed this principle in his work The Republic. In the form of a dialogue between Socrates and Glaucon, Plato compared justice and injustice to health and disease - just as that which is healthy causes health and that which is unhealthy causes disease, just actions cause justice, and unjust actions cause injustice. Virtue is the health and beauty and well-being of the soul, and vice the disease and weakness and deformity of the same.
With this rather simple analogy, Plato pronounces a profound truth: Just as the health of the body depends upon the healthy operation of each of its members, so a just society is just only when the members of that society are acting justly in their various spheres.
Justice is not simply about punishment and correction of wrongdoing. Justice is first and foremost about living with a good conscience: upholding what is pure, right and true - in word and deed. Justice is the fruit of the beliefs and actions of individuals. Much like the health of the body, the justice of a society depends upon the manner of life of the people.
Who is teaching your children how to live? From whom are they picking up their attitudes and sense of right and wrong? As parents, teaching justice to your children is not simply a matter of discipline. It is a matter of building relationships and striving to be a significant influence in their lives.
Brought to you by the Four Corners Character Council. Character First! definitions and information used by permission. Copyright Character Training Institute www.characterfirst.com.