“We don’t just do what’s easy; we do what’s right.”
Core value number seven! I think we all pretty much agree this is the hardest one to follow. We are human, and as humans, we are not perfect. We get tired, crabby, frustrated, have moments of selfishness, and sometimes we are in a hurry. All of those situations and those emotions put us in places where we might not do the right thing. We are all guilty of it, and I am here to tell you it’s okay!
Doing the right thing every day and all the time is hard. It is a conscious challenge, and sometimes we fail to do the right thing and don’t even realize it until later. Today I thought I would share that not only am I personally guilty of failing to do the right thing, but I also fail to do the right thing often. Sometimes I fail publicly and sometimes privately, but I am continually challenging myself to be a better person and do the right thing.
I decided that I would share what makes me feel better for this core value discussion when I realize I have failed at doing the right thing. It helps me feel much better, and I think it would help you too! We all have told ourselves after doing something that was not right, “Next time, I will be better.”
I want to remind you that sometimes you don’t have to wait until next time; you can make something right that you have failed at in the past, and the feeling is excellent.
When I was a kid, I had a neighbor that I used to make fun of. He was one year younger than me and vulnerable, and since I had low self-esteem, I guess picking on him made me feel better. I finally grew up and matured one day and realized that this was not right for me to treat him like that and say mean things to him; I felt terrible.
When I was a teen, I once found $40 at school on the hallway’s ground. I knew it was not mine, but I was young and thought since nobody was around, I should keep it instead of asking if anyone lost the money or turned it into the office staff.
When I was a young father in my mid-twenties, I would go grocery shopping with my kids, and I remember always being in a hurry and frustrated. This meant that I was always leaving my shopping cart in the parking lot and not returning it into the cart corral either. I would leave it by my car and leave. “It was not my problem,” I would think to myself. “Plus, it’s cold out, and someone gets paid to collect these carts!”
You may have experienced similar situations in your life, and maybe they made you feel the way they made me feel. Sometimes I reflected a day later, sometimes a week later, and sometimes years later, but I always felt bad about not doing the right thing upon reflection.
Then, Jack Fallon, TLC, and God started to influence me more during my twenties, and I started to realize that just because you did not do the right thing, it did not mean that you could not correct that later. I realized it’s never too late to make something right. I started to reflect on what I had failed to do right and see if I could somehow fix it.
The kid I picked on when I was growing up was named Ken. About ten years ago, I saw Ken had just joined a private group for the High School I graduated from on Facebook. I saw his name, and it immediately brought back those shameful memories. I reached out to Ken; I would write him a sorry message but asked if he could call me instead. He called me, and I apologized for being a jerk to him as a kid.
It was hard, but it was the right thing to do. Ken accepted my apology and let me know that it was not as bad as I remembered and that he was never angry at me about it. I felt so much better; he has messaged me so often since then when he sees some social media posts and congratulates me, it’s been great.
The 40 dollars I found was in my High School. I went to Chippewa Valley in Clinton Township, Michigan, in the early ’90s. It was about 15 years later, and I was still working at Ford motor company at this time, and a co-worker there asked me if I could buy some raffle tickets for a fundraiser for his daughter. He said 50% would go to the school band, which she was on, and they needed the money for a trip.
I would give him 10 dollars, but when he said she was on the Chippewa Valley band (my old school where I found the money), I immediately remembered that 40 dollars I took. I could not afford it at that moment, but it inspired me to give him 100 towards the cause. I figured that she and the band would get 50, which was ten more than I found that day 15 years earlier, making me feel better.
About 15 years ago, I saw a young kid about 16 years old in a parking lot collecting carts at a grocery store. It was so cold, and there were a few inches of fresh snow on the ground. He struggled to push more than three carts at once because of the snow, and it was windy and cold. I felt so bad for him. After all, I used to do that job as a teen, and I knew it was not fun. Then I instantly remembered when I had left my carts wherever was more convenient for me instead of in the cart corral, and I realized that was not right.
I got out of my car and helped that kid push those carts; I went out again, got another batch and told him he was doing a good job. That was also the last time I ever left my cart in the parking lot in a convenient place for me. I now always look for at least one extra cart to bring to the corral with me to make up for all the times I had not returned them. It makes me feel good every time I do it now.
The point I am trying to make this week: It is NEVER too late to do the right thing. Sometimes you can’t make up for the wrong, but you can make up for it differently. It will make you feel better, and god and the universe will thank you for it as well.
In closing, I have one more story. In 1997 a young man named Jack Fallon asked to please consider reading a book. He asked several times; he even begged a few times. I always laughed at him and told him that the book was stupid and probably why he was brainwashed. I laughed at him and was mean to him, it was not the right thing to do, and I realized many years later that he was trying to do the right thing and trying to help me by exposing me to that book, and I didn’t understand that. It could have helped me so much if I was open-minded and read it, but I did not.
Recently I have talked about and often reflected about that time, and I want to right that wrong so much, but I need your help! The book Jack wanted me to read was called:
“Are you a red apple or a green apple?”
I decided about a year ago that I would do the right thing and read that book. I have been searching high and low for that book online, but I can’t find it. If I do, I will read it, and I am sure I feel much better because it’s never too late to do the right thing! If anyone can help me find it, I am willing to donate to your favorite charity so let me know!
Thanks for reading and have a great week!