Saturday, January 8, 2011

Character

There are some unpleasant things I'm dealing with at present and rather than dump them here in my little slice of peace, I'm going to look at the bigger picture and reaffirm my beliefs.

Character defines us.  Good, bad or indifferent, we are what we do daily.  We are also how we do those things.  We're shaped by the good and bad decisions of each day.  If too many decisions scoot around our ethics and principles, we'll become unethical and unprincipled.  If we act in a slovenly, careless, or selfish way, we'll become those ugly things.  And each time a bad decision, or a shallow choice is made, and we're rewarded, we reinforce those behaviors all the more.

The central question then, is "Does character matter?"

Why put forth all that effort in the first place?  Why not just get what you want from people and situations regardless of what is right and just?   And when there are repercussions for these actions, do you admit responsibility for your choices, or do you blame others?   And what about "ethics" - what role do they play?

People argue that non-human animals have no ethics, no rules of conduct.  I laugh at this argument.  We are the champions at rationalizing around our own principles if there's a benefit to be had.  A dog will eat its own poop before keeping a soiled den.  A dog will jump headlong into danger to benefit the pack.  I just read a story about a dog that had been hit by a car, was suffering from several leg fractures, and was caring for and feeding a full litter, which included a stray kitten!  Talk about a sense of responsibility!  (They've since been rescued and are doing well).  I've known human mothers to deny their children meager attentions, much less feed and love them with an untreated leg fracture.  What about a person whose pride risks lives?  And a person who files for food stamps and then gets an eyebrow piercing the following weekend?  And don't get me started on liars - their manipulations know no end.  I would love to take these people and shake them awake - "Are you pleased with the person you've become?!  How will the universe reflect your actions?!"

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the choices I make.  I'm certainly not perfect and I struggle with my own choices daily.  It would be so much easier to make selfish choices.  To go with the flow and just turn my eyes from injustice.  To do things half-assed because the effort of doing things to the best of my ability would take away from me and my own comfort.  To refuse to admit when I was wrong, and hide behind lies.  To gossip and  make my words hurt when I lack the courage to confront.

But if I did these things I would become ugly.  I couldn't look at purity and feel joy, because of my own ugliness.  I never want to feel that way.  I never want to look at my child's eyes and feel ashamed.  I never want to look into my dogs' clear eyes and be denied the same clarity reflected back.  I never want to look at Matty and feel unworthy of his love.  I want to be the wise, old crone, reflecting back on my life with the peace of knowing I've left a loving, compassionate and honest footprint.  For all of these reasons and so many more, character does matter.  It's what defines us and becomes our legacy.

I will not compromise.

 

10 comments:

  1. Great post. Will be visiting often. Have a great day!

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  2. Fantastic! You said this perfectly. I also feel that character is not only important for me, but it has helped to mold my son. If my character were not the best I could be, then why would I criticize him for his? I am not perfect either. But I get so tired of people not taking responsibility. Thanks for posting this!

    Sherri

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  3. Amen to all your words - hope things get better for you.

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  4. Very inspiring post!

    Nubbin wiggles,
    Oskar

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  5. Excellent!

    I'll add 'I won't settle'

    I did that once and I won't do it again -

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  6. Excellent saying!!!

    I completely agree that 'character does matter'.

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  7. Agree that character DOES matter! Great post!
    Tailwags
    Ernie,Sasha,Chica

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  8. here here! (or is it hear hear)

    anyway, agreed

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