How many times in your life has someone told you to “Do The Right Thing.” It is a common expression but I am not certain how many people live their lives this by it. That is probably not a fair comment because it sets up life as being black and white and that is just not real.
Life is filled with challenges that have black and white answers. I know people that try to live their lives based on black and white precepts. Some of them would consider this post to be an attempt to run a game. They might accuse me of being afraid to take a position. That too would be unfair.
See the funny thing about life is that when you take a hard look you find that there are many shades of gray. Sometimes those shades are helpful. Sometimes those are the moments in which you find the brightest colors and sometimes it is where the darkness hides.
I am working hard on trying to teach my children to do the right thing. I need for them to learn these things at a young age. What they do as they get older will be based upon this and if I can’t help them build a proper foundation what kind of father would I be.
Here is an example. During a recent outing to the park my son found a Batman action figure. He loves superheroes and very much wanted to keep it. The truth is that my initial impulse was to let him do so. There weren’t that many kids around and those that were there said that it was not their Batman.
The story could have ended there, but I saw an opportunity for a little life lesson. The park has a rec center right next to the playground area. I told my son that we needed to give Batman to the office in the rec center because the owner might come back and see if anyone had turned Batman in.
He didn’t want any part of it. He is six and already knows the whole “Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers” bit. But it just didn’t feel right to me not to turn it in so I spent a little time explaining to him why we should turn it in. I told him that sometimes the right thing to do is hard and that we needed to pay attention to that voice in our head. He didn’t like it much, but I could see the wheels turning inside.
Eventually he gave in and we headed over to the office. The lady behind the desk told him that she would hold onto it for a week and if it wasn’t claimed we could come back and she would give it to him. It seemed like a fair compromise and he was ok with it so the deal was made.
When I told my father the story he asked me what I would have done if it would have been a bagful of money. I’d like to say that I would just turn it in, but I am not so sure. Found money is found money. Does it make me a hypocrite to say that I might consider holding onto the bag.