Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why Do We Do the Right Thing?

Today, after an awesome day of going around town and doing various things to celebrate my mom's b-day, something unexpected happened.  As I was preparing my kids for bed, I noticed a tiny plastic frog on the floor.  I picked it up and recognize it to be one of the toys they played with at a museum we went to earlier.  It turned out that it was a team effort and both of my oldest kids were guilty of this deed.   After having a long talk and lecturing my kids on how wrong it is to steal things and what happens to people when they steal things came the verdict for their inexcusable behavior.  They are to write a note of apology to the museum staff, return the toy to the play room and personally apologize to the staff member for their wrong doing.  After they felt asleep, I was left in my office to think about this incident and doing the right thing.  I started questioning why do people choose to do the RIGHT thing? I think that there is a lot of attention being paid to why people do the wrong thing but I am yet to engage in a conversation of what makes people do the right thing. 

Today, when you took your groceries through the u-scan register, why did you pay for all of your items? Early next year, why will you report accurately on your taxes even if that means having to pay back the money you don't currently have?   Is it because of the fear of the consequence that could follow if you get caught doing the wrong thing ?   Are you terrified of jail or of what prison time can do to your criminal record?

If you believe in life after death, did you do the right thing because you are afraid of going to hell to spend your eternity? 

Yes, prison and hell scare the heck out of me and rightly so.  Without law enforcement there would be no order.  Because of law enforcement, we slow down on the freeway and obey other laws even if we don't like them.  We do the right thing and we get honored for it by not having to pay a fine: the reward which most of us only begin to appreciate after having to pay for our inattentiveness.  Without hell, sneaky people that were able to allude justice on Earth would never have to pay for their crime. 

My question to you my readers is this:  Are human beings able to do the right thing purely because it is the right thing and serves fellow humans well and not because of the fear of consequences?  If by some magic powers your were advised that you can engage in any act of immorality under the sun and would never have to pay for it in any way, would you do it?  Would others do it? 

I don't know if I my kids understood my point tonight.  I wanted them to understand that even though they didn't get caught, they took something that doesn't belong to them.  They took something that wasn't earned by them or their parents and that is a crime against humanity no matter how small of a damage was done.  

 Most importantely, I want them to grow up understanding that what makes people noble is not the acts of righteousness that they commit in view of people watching, but it is those acts that might be never discovered.   This is a whole other topic I would like to someday think through. 

Doing the right thing is not glamorous and is often inconvenient.  Human beings gravitate toward whats evil and we fight this battle daily.  Sometimes we come out winners.  Other times, unfortunately victory is forced upon us. 

~~Would love to hear your thoughts on this...

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Nativity

"The Nativity"

Among the oxen (like an ox I'm slow)
I see a glory in the stable grow
Which, with the ox's dullness might at length
Give me an ox's strength.

Among the asses (stubborn I as they)
I see my Saviour where I looked for hay;
So may my beastlike folly learn at least
The patience of a beast.

Among the sheep (I like a sheep have strayed)
I watch the manger where my Lord is laid;
Oh that my baa-ing nature would win thence
Some wooly innocence!

~C. S. Lewis

Merry Christmas!!! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Deliberating Directions

Over the last two weeks I've had a rollercoaster of emotions.  It began when we suddenly realized that we can no longer afford our bad investment mistake fancy house. I mean we could never afford it, it just that up to this point with God's grace we've managed to make the payments.   When I look back at these several years, it amazes me that a part-timer and a self-employer of a tiny business has managed not to loose this place to a bank during the height of a recession.   God's grace, again.  However, that might soon change.  When it finally hit us, I (my husband probably as well, but he expressed it in a more silent way than I did) went to stage 2.  Panic.  Everything from where will we go to where will be our children's new school be hurricaned my brain.  When a possible leaving situation was negotiated, I went to stage 3.  This stage is probably part of one's survival mechanism.  It is responsible for deliberating one's alternative options.  Should we try to sell this place or rent it out?  Should we try to modify the loan (again) or should we find ways to increase our income?  All these different directions; which one should we take?  As my brain was exploding from all this thinking, I found my self in church during worship.

Now, I have to be honest that I have always believed that it is individual's responsiblity to get him/her self out of the mess that they have created.  Personal accountability is high on my list.  So what I was seeking that morning was wisdom and peace to come from my God whom I know not to be the Santa Clause he is often perceived to be, but a loving father that sometimes lets his children fail.

So, as I was praying with tears coming down my face and  worship music in the background, I was seeking direction.  And by the time the worship was over, I am happy to report that I got what I really needed.  Peace.  No, God did not engage in my business endeavors.  But he spoke to my heart saying that I already have soooo much and a house is so insignificant in comparison.  He reminded me that I have healthy, loving, smart, beautiful children.  He reminded me that I have supportive, generous, talented, loving, caring, husband without whom I cannot imagine my life.  I was raised in a two parent family with parents who instilled so many great values in me and have supported me through education and who love my children enough to spoil them crazy.  I have my sister who is my second (to my husband) best friend.  All of my needs are met.  And. it. doesn't. matter. what happens to the pieces of lumber that hold the roof. Period.

So we are starting our walk one direction at a time and if all of the roads come to a dead end, then we'll be packing our bags.  If/When that takes place, I want to remember that day when panic turned to peace and feelings turned to reason and future contemplations were replaced with treasuring the present.

I want to internalize this and have it be the way of life and not merely an emotional spur. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Private Setting

Hello there, my occasional readers.  In a few days, I will change my setting to "private" so the only people that will be able to read my blog will be readers I invite.  So, if you would like to read my blog, please write me an email at jantonov2000[at]yahoo[dot]com and I will send you an invite.  I am doing this for several reasons:

1) I share quite a bit of my private life here and it something freaks me out that I have no idea who is reading my blog.

2) Other times,  having my blog open to the public restricts me from writing certain things I want to vent.

Looking forward to hearing from some of you,

Bye-bye the rest of you!