I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy! Check out all of Karla’s Korner articles here.
Doing Good; Not Just For the Happy Hearted
The philosopher Aristotle said that you are morally correct if you do a good action and feel good about it. The step down is that he does not think that if you do a good action but do not feel good about it it’s not as morally correct as doing it and feeling good about it.
My daughter and I were talking about this across the dinner table recently and I began to think how this can play into everyday life with our children. Many times in the classroom I will have to referee an argument or try to figure out who bonked who on the head with a toy truck and request that apologies be made appropriately. More times than not, the apologies are quickly spoken so that they can get back to the fun stuff and be finished with the necessity of doing the right thing. I find myself taking the opportunity to explain why we apologize and why it is important to do the right thing. Quite often I stress to my students that we should apologize with a happy heart, but after my discussion with my daughter, I realize that having a happy heart may not always be necessary to do the right. Sometimes doing the right is just that; the right thing regardless of how we feel about it.
As parents, we find ourselves at odds with doing the right thing all the time versus the easier way out. For example, when my daughter was learning to drive she knew all the right rules. She could practically quote the driver’s education book word for word. So imagine my surprise when I broke the rules and made an illegal u-turn only to hear her quickly remind me that I had done the wrong thing. Of course, I found several excuses why I chose to make the u-turn trying to convince her that it was okay. After ten minutes of her telling me all of the reasons why I should obey the rules, I knew that she was right and I was wrong. Funny thing is I was responsible for teaching her how to do the right thing. Whether I want to admit it or not, my young daughter was teaching me a lesson. That lesson was actually a reflection of the values her dad and I instilled in her as a young child.
How often do we do the right thing with a happy heart? How often do we just do the right thing because we know we should? Doing the right thing because we should contrary to Aristotle is not a bad thing. Doing good regardless of how we feel about it is what is important. Teaching our children to be good, responsible citizens is important. For example, how many times have we given our children a handful of change to put in the red kettle at Christmas time? When my children were little they used to get so excited when I gave them a few dollars to put in the Salvation Army kettle. Being rushed and financially exhausted during the holidays the last thing I wanted to do was stand and watch my toddler put each individual coin in the slot on the pot. However, knowing that it was the right thing to do and that it was teaching my children to do good for others I tried to patiently wait out the coin dropping with a smile on my face and embracing my child when the job was done.
We have an obligation to lead by example, especially to our children, regardless about how we feel about it. You might be having a bad day and might not feel like showing acts of charity or kindness, but the simple fact that you took time out of your day and did it anyway is a truly amazing thing. The idea here is having selflessness; putting aside your own feelings of “I don’t want to do this” or “I don’t have time for this” for the sake of doing the right thing will not only teach your children or peers compassion, but will teach it to you as well.
So, as you’re going on through your day to day life, do the right thing, whatever it is, not because it makes you feel all warm and tingly, but simply because it is the right thing to do.
Also, please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.