Thursday, July 08, 2010

Doing the Right Thing

One time when I was riding in the car with my father late at night, he stopped at a red light and waited until it turned green even though there was no traffic coming the other way. We were way out in the country and had not seen another car for an hour. I asked him why he didn't just go through the light, and he said "because I shouldn't."

Perhaps that was a little silly.  Who, besides me, was going to know that he stopped or didn't stop. But it was important to him to do the right thing, even when it may seem silly.  That was just part of his makeup. Do the right thing even when nobody is looking.

Personal responsibility.

In today's world it seems like there is less personal responsibility and more reliance on laws to protect our well-being.  Every time there is a catastrophe, we turn  to the government to fix it. Pass a law to regulate tobacco. Pass a law to regulate the amount of fat in food. Pass a law to make people wear seat belts. 

Wouldn't it be nice if people took more responsibility for their well-being, and the government could then focus on what government should be doing? What do you think?

13 comments:

Being Beth said...

I agree. Integrity is in short supply, and it's so refreshing when I find a person who has it. My husband has more integrity than any other person I've ever known. He is the same man in private that he is in public. Sometimes the kids tease him, but ultimately, more and more as they become established into young adulthood, i see them making decisions that reflect the kind of integrity that their father modeled for them. For that gift my husband gave our family I'll be eternally grateful.

Karen Walker said...

Yes, more personal responsibility would be a very good thing. But who defines what is the right thing?
Karen

Mason Canyon said...

I agree too. People need to be more responsible. It seems our society is getting where we leave everything up to be decided for us.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Helen Ginger said...

I agree with your father. I sort of think if you let something slip because no one is watching, it's easier to let something slip the next time and the next. It would help if more people took that kind of personal responsibility.

Straight From Hel

Carol Kilgore said...

I agree. Sadly, I think there are many people who don't have a clue what it means.

LuAnn said...

Unfortunately, until people can learn to regulate themselves, society will have to do it for them.

(Oops! I'm sounding like a journalist, aren't I?)

Maryann Miller said...

Beth, what a wonderful tribute to your husband. I love that you say he is the same man in private as he is in public. I know too often people put on the "public face" and we don't know for sure who they truly are.

Karen, I think we all have an inherent sense of what is right.

LOL, LuAnn, you can sound like a journalist. I like journalists. (smile)

Mike said...

I think Karen's comment is on target - not everyone's moral compass is pointed in the same direction. Maybe I've just seen too much bad behavior in my life. The saying, "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is revealing - the more someone has, the more they will justify their behaviors to keep it. I'm not saying this is true all the time, but more often than not in my experience.
Glad to hear from others of those in their lives acting ethically, but would we expect an unethical person to respond here, and if so, would it be truthful? something to ponder.

Maryann Miller said...

Good question, Mike. And I'm guessing that you are right about unethical people probably not stopping by to join the discussion.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

So true. I wish more parents lived what they preach instead of preaching. I wish all parents could have even a fraction of the moral courage your father has.

The other day, a lady dropping her kid off at school almost physically abused the attendant who asked her not to park outside the school gate. Did she even think about the message she was sending out to her four year old child?

Maryann Miller said...

Rayna, unfortunately, that mother had no clue. That is so common now and I am dismayed every time I see an adult behaving so poorly in front of a child.

雅芳 said...

rain before seven; fine before eleven.............................................................

Janalyn Voigt said...

Well-stated. I love the example you give of your father's integrity, even when no one was watching. That's what it's all about.