A standard is an accepted rule for measuring value and quality.
For example, a ruler measures the value of distance. Diamonds are rated according to cut, clarity, and size standards.
Another use of the word standard is as it pertains to morals. A person who is said to have low standards may be someone who is immoral in their behavior, while someone said to have high standards lives by integrity, honesty, and other positive traits.
Discuss: What are some examples of high standards? What are some examples of low standards?
Discuss: What does it mean to have a double standard?
A double standard is a negative term used for people who say they have high standards, but then live by lower standards. A person who does this is also called a hypocrite and their actions are known as hypocritical. The term double standard can also refer to a rule that is being applied only to one group of people but not to another group. For example:
- You say you are honest but on a test question you don’t know the answer for, you glance at a neighbor’s paper and cheat.
- A news reporter is supposed to be fair but might give a positive view of one political candidate he/she favors, and a negative view of their opponent.
- A person that holds him/herself out as not engaging in certain behavior such as drinking, but then does that behavior when they think nobody is watching.
- A teacher who lets only his favorite students get away with breaking a rule, while holding all the other students to that rule.
Key Point: People who have high standards are respected when they live them, and distrusted when they violate them.
Discuss: What are some standards you live by?
Action Item: Write down a set of standards that you will live by. Hang it in your room or somewhere you can see it and be reminded of it often. Start small and add to your list as events in your life teach you more about how to live by moral standards.