A few years ago, I was watching the Stereophonics Advent Calendar Video Message. The lads sat down to talk about their year, what they’ll be doing for Christmas and their hopes for the new year. Talk turned to New Years Resolutions; Richard Jones, dead-pan, stated he would start smoking again.
When it was Kelly Jones’ turn to state what his New Years Resolution would be, he said simply, eyes trained on his lap: ‘to do the right thing. Whatever that may be.’ Adam Zindani was touched by the sentiment and threw a comforting arm around his bandmate. I was touched, too. It’s something that has stayed with me all these years since.
It seems like such a simple sentiment, doing the right thing. Yet the thought of it, once imbedded in your brain, has the ability to make you stop and think at every circumstance. Your selfish inner dialogue which we all have, whether we admit it or not, is paused to give way to an outer being. A searching for what is right rather than what is needed.
Selfishness is deeply ingrained in all of us, stemming from the days when we were nothing more than cave-dwellers, and survival was a daily struggle. To stay alive, one had to think in selfish terms; where will I get food, where will I get shelter. We were not yet emotionally intelligent. Now we are.
You would think, therefore, that selfishness would be prevalent in young children given our ingrained instincts for survival. I have read that children do not learn empathy until they are around five or six years old. However, I have witnessed first hand that this is not the case.
I have seen in my two year old nephew the inherent desire to do what is right, whether or not he is aware of this. Eating with his one year old sister, my nephew sees that she has finished her food. So he takes out a piece of fruit of his own bowl, offering it to his sister. As she sits expectantly beside him, my nephew dishes out every last item in his bowl to his sister, because he sees that this is what she wants. At two, he can see that someone else’s needs are greater than his own. At two, he is already learning to do the right thing.
Doing the right thing comes in many different forms. When you accept the concept, awareness of what is right to do illuminates itself.
You may be at the supermarket, and see that the cashier is having a bad day. Taking a moment or two to engage in conversation, to brighten the cashier’s day, may be the right thing to do.
You may be driving in your car, and spot someone trying to get in your lane. The right thing to do may be to let them in.
The right thing to do may be simply telling those you love that you do. It may be giving your change to a charity collection. It may be listening patiently to the religious door-knockers, because you know they’ll have had many a door slammed in their faces. It might be offering a drink to the road workers outside your house.
The right thing to do may just be to listen.
The right thing to do may just be to smile.
You will feel when something is right.
Every year, since hearing Kelly Jones’ sentiment, I have vow to do the right thing, whatever that may be.
Every day, I try to remind myself of that.
It just goes to show; spiritual awakenings can come from the most unexpected places.
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