Never Confuse What is Right with Being Right
As a society, we are obsessed with the idea of being right. From early on, we are conditioned in school and most likely at home to search for the “right” answer when solving problems and seeking solutions. The majority of our educational time is spent collecting facts and accumulating knowledge about things as opposed to teaching, exercising and developing good judgment as personal behavior. That goal or method is fine as it intrinsically creates knowledge as a result of the process, however, the excessive attention on fact-finding alone is also a double-edged sword in that it can similarly foster or instill an elevated emphasis on being “right” that has the potential to overshadow the higher goal of pursuing and learning what is right.
As nebulous as the discussion can be regarding what is right, it remains by far, the more important aspect of the concept of right versus the pursuit of being right. Being right about a question, supported by facts, history, experience and even the consensus of others, may not necessarily lead to an outcome that supports what is right.
When your child brings home that injured bird and wants to keep it so that it gets healed is indeed a noble act in itself. At first blush, it appears to be the right thing to do. You, however, as the parent that possesses the maturity and insight about life, knows that the action required to do what is right is to either take the bird to a veterinarian or the local Humane Society, because these two establishments possess the necessary knowledge and facilities to not only properly heal the bird, but will also, once the bird is healthy again, know that to achieve the long term health of the bird is to return the bird to their native habitat or environment. In effect, they will do what is right.
Determining what is right involves knowledge, however, also requires insight, perspective and the application of moral principles and judgment. Many people consider this to be critical thinking skills. The underlying assumption in pursuing what is right is that the person involved has genuine and unambiguous knowledge and motivation to do what is right. Or, in other words, has no hidden agendas, intent to deceive or falsely assumes they have adequate knowledge to reach a logical conclusion.
We have become a society of people that expend unbridled effort and focus toward the pursuit of being right and have largely fallen short concerning the process of problem-solving, decision-making and behavior that supports doing what is right.
The action required to change this direction and create new and refocused behavior and subsequent outcomes lies in us recognizing the need to spend more time with our children at home discussing, reinforcing and teaching moral principles and behavior. An increased emphasis in this area will accelerate the learning and maturity process in our children to be able to recognize what is right at an earlier age.
Following, it will subsequently empower, enable and reinforce behavior by our children that will produce results focused on doing and pursuing what is right. Admittedly, it will always be important to discover facts, seek knowledge and achieve the right information. This activity must be recognized for what it needs to be, and that is as a means to an end. The end, as it were, is in doing what is right.
Ultimately, the balance between the pursuit of being right will shift toward creating behavior that supports doing what is right, adding value to the world and living a life of worth. Isn’t that right?
- Puffin patrol rescues more birds than ever (cbc.ca)
- Leading By Example (ivythesis.typepad.com)
- Church Leadership – 14 Leadership Traits (smartchurchmanagement.com)
Posted on August 13, 2012, in Personal Growth, Philosophy, Truths, Videos and tagged Behavior, Critical thinking, Decision making, Education, Knowledge, leadership, Moral Behavior, Parenting, Right. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.