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#YPQ 10 — Doing the Do

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Fandango’s Provocative Question this week is about the choices we make and the actions we take.

“What is more important to you,

doing the right thing or

doing things right?”

 

Ideally doing the right thing and doing things right are the same thing. For example following the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, or the reverse, Confucius’, don’t do unto others what you don’t want done to you.

Reality isn’t ideal as anyone alive will tell you. Nor is it fair. Expecting life to be fair sets a person up for all kinds of disappointment.

I’m really trying to sort out the difference between the two statements before deciding which one is more important.

Doing the right thing is a very subjective phrase, as my definition of right thing and yours may very well be different. You could go by the modern, “do the right thing” as in if you see someone being slandered, abused, harmed, etc. take appropriate action. I’m totally on board with that definition, but again we get back to is my definition of slander, harassment, abuse, harm, etc. the same as everyone else’s?

Doing things right suggests the end justifies the means, or by any means necessary to achieve your end goal. This pretty much is a carte blanche you give yourself to make whatever it is you want to happen happen. As an example, in my old job I had to write reports and make recommendations a lot. These reports and recommendations often became part of the permanent record and/or court orders. Say there was a particular parent I wanted the child to be released to from the youth home rather than the other parent as there was something I just didn’t like about one of the parents, nothing unsafe, just a personal bias. Well when it came down to writing the report and making recommendations, one parent would be bragged up, anything negative omitted from the report; while the report would include any minute negative thing and extra investigation to dig up even more. Then at recommendation time I could get the preferred outcome at the hearing. So… because of my personal bias, without solid grounds, justice was perverted to it. Is that ok?

Something I like to think about before doing anything is Kant’s categorical imperative, which I learned in a symbolic logic class probably 40 years ago, which “denotes an absolute, unconditional requirement that must be obeyed in all circumstances and is justified as an end in itself.” (wikipedia) It is best known in its first formulation:

Act only according to that maxim

whereby you can, at the same time,

will that it should become a universal law.

What this says is, before you act, consider what the outcome would be if everyone on the planet decided to the same thing RIGHT NOW. My teacher used the example of throwing a cigarette butt on the ground after smoking the cigarette (40 years ago everybody smoked, including me). Think about what would it be like if everyone smoked and everyone threw their butts on the ground. Not a very appetizing thought is it.

Bottom line for me is that I try to live by a code based upon the Golden Rule and Confucius Rule, but also doing the right thing and doing things right, based upon my personal assessment of a situation and counting on my integrity to help sway it one way or another with it could go either way. As much as possible I consider the categorical imperative, but to live only by it would be to live in a very small bubble so often it falls by the wayside.

Not only is this an intricate issue, it is not intended to cause umbrage to anyone.  It’s a personal philosophy that works for me.

For some reason, The Time’s song, “Release It” came to mind.  “Release It” is on Prince’s, “Graffiti Bridge” album, released in August 1990.  In the film of the same name, this was a battle song between Prince and his crew and Morris Day and his crew, The Time.

18 thoughts on “#YPQ 10 — Doing the Do

  1. It is, but people think (and say) ‘but I did nothing’ as if that wasn’t their choice …
    I always asked the foster kids about what they’d choose to do (in certain situations) and why, and what the impact would be on the world around them if they did [the act], or didn’t, and what if they were the recipient of that act, or lack of action – they learned pdq that to do nothing is a decision, an act with consequences, internal and external.
    Maintaining ignorance holds no sway (except in politician-land).
    Just my opinion, and I’m very opinionated!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re also very well-spoken. In my old job, part of we did was to put “programming” in place that would, in geek-terms, “improve their executive functioning skills” which is exactly as how you describe your work with the foster kids. It’s really worth doing, but them watching you in action is the best lessons of all. How many foster kids do you (and your partner) have? How long have you been doing foster care?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. the last ones left 30 years ago! (now that’s giving me away.) Two are now foster carers, and their foster-kids have become foster carers, three have adopted lostlings, and the others (except one recidivist) are living good lives, productive, happy.

    Altogether, there were 32 fosters, two littlies (I think they helped the others), 30 teenagers who came to me for ‘independent living skills’ prior to being allowed out into the real world with a govt income, even though under-age.
    Most stayed, or stayed close, for a lot longer than they needed to. (at one time, I had 12 teenagers, two under ten, two dogs, a cat, a horse, a cocky – all in a two-bedroom house, with a big garage!)
    And I was single, working full-time, and not much older than some of them! (met my partner when assistance was needed to deal with an irate parent – with a knife!) Serendipitous actions, indeed.
    What I gave the fosters was trust that they knew what they were doing (and three unbreakable rules, the others could be ‘argued’ for a reason). It wasn’t fun, but we had a lot of interesting times, and we learned to make a family of our tribe.
    What a long story that was! Sorry, must have had coffe instead of tea!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cage, you are your S.O. are heroes in my eyes. The good you did with those kids will ripple into forever. Have you ever considered writing a book about your experience being a foster parents? I would have LOVED to have you as a foster parent to put some of my probationers with.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Maybe now is the time I have to admit it was tough for them? And that the other kids (especially the first teenager, nicknamed ‘Mumma-che’) did it all? I was the boundary, not much more, and treated them as I wished I’d been treated by ‘the system’.
    And my first foster was my nephew.
    I think it helped that those kids couldn’t shock me, not with any of their experiences. Our initial ‘chats’ opened their eyes to the fact they weren’t alone, and that they had value – at least to us.
    I miss it, but doubt I could do it again.
    And yes, every story has a reflection of someone or something from those moments in my life.
    Um – what is S.O.? And no, not a hero – I needed their help as much as they needed a roof – and to be valued for something. It helped me work through my own early life issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. S.O. = “significant other” You and I will have to disagree about your heroism, as to me it is clear. You may see what you did as no big deal, but your attitude with the kids and your acceptance, stability, and everything that went with it, (including the good, the bad, and the ugly) was a rarity to see during my years working with abused/neglected youngsters.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The care-worker who gave me the choice said this: It’s you, or it’s prison (the equivalent for kids) – what do you think it going to make the biggest difference in their life?
    The answer wasn’t me – I could only offer a limited understanding of the world, but prison, even kid-prison, teaches them a whole lot more … and society as a whole pays the price. Yes, I was in kid-prison, and it nearly broke me. If not for the issues with my nephew and the need to care for someone who didn’t have choices …
    We do what we have to do to be able to live with our souls, because it doesn’t matter what we’re told, what we see, what we know – in the end, we are the only ones able to see beneath all the masks we wear to the true ‘you’ in the mirror. I can live with that person, usually comfortably, but not always. I have not always done what my soul says would be the best (or better) option …

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Time’s a wasting! After reading that Crayola has boxes of 115 colors with its own sharpener, I may need to break down and buy a box. Right now I have 36 gel pens but many look the same color and a box of 50 colored pencils. Time to change it up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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