Saturday, July 28, 2012

So you want to know what you should do

One of my regrets in being kept apart from you, my son, is that I'm not there to listen to you when problems arise. You're rapidly approaching that age when other people's seemingly inexplicable behavior leads you to wonder what to do and why they behave that way, when the black and white ethics of childhood that says what one's parents dictate as right all so often proves inadequate. I myself am facing that difficult choice today about someone I deeply love and care about.

You'll notice that I didn't say "answer your questions" when you face such problems, because often after explaining them to someone you love and trust, you'll ask, "What should I do, Dad?" or "What should I do, Grandma?" If dad and grandma are wise, they won't give you a lecture about what to do but instead will ask you a series of questions to help you wrap your head around the problem. You're a good, intelligent kid, and you probably have the answer inside you; you just needed someone to help you think through it and listen to you, just to show that someone cared. That's what you really wanted - and needed - after all.

I wish I could be there to listen to and help you think through the problem. In my absence, let me simply ask you, "What would you want someone to do to or for you if you were in that situation?" The answer probably is what you should do for that person. It's basically the Golden Rule: Do unto others as they would do unto you. Treat others as you expect to treat them. To wit, if your friend is getting robbed of his lunch money by the school bully, and you're wondering what to do, ask yourself what you want a friend to do if you were the kid getting robbed of his lunch money.

I don't know if that really helps. A problem almost always is more complicated to resolve than what I've described. But it's a good question to ask. Just look at a picture of me, tell me what's on your mind knowing that if I really were physically there I'd listen with as much attentiveness, and know the first question I'd ask is "What would you want someone to do to or for you if you were in that situation?" I'm betting that you probably know what is the right thing to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment