This is what I wrote in a previous blog, “So the criterion of making a choice is really all about right or wrong, rather than how you feel (like or dislike),” a message I’ve repeatedly given to my son and hope one day he could take it to heart 😀. This line seems to be a perfect prelude for a conversation I just had with my son more recently:
“Eric, there are really only two things that matter to a person throughout his/her lifetime. The first one is the ability in making independent judgment on right or wrong; and the second one is to choose to do the right thing even it was against one’s own interest, desire, or feeling.”
For they are really what character is about…
With my son, I continued on and expanded the concept with added explanations, until I figured I had lost him at some point – will have to come back on this when the next opportunity arises 😀.
Life is a journey of judging right or wrong, isn’t it, for choices of our own, and for those we make to others when we are fortunate enough to be given that power and privilege. For a curious and growing child, what else more important a parent can give to him/her than an ability in making independent and principled judgment on right or wrong?
A real character is not complete though without a strong will of carrying out a right choice that it is incompatible to one’s own emotional desire at a personal level (for my son, as simple as doing home work vs. playing video game, in a separate blog, “任性” (ren’xing)), or a calculated self-interest at a professional level (politicians for example, particularly in year 2020).
As a parent, what compels and burdens me the most is a path that I am largely responsible for which my children will walk through in building their own characters. During this path-finding journey, I am empowered with choices for them. Can I consistently make right choices? Can I always “choose to do the right thing” (whatever that means) aiming for a long lasting and positive effect on them? The answers are dependent on my own character, isn’t it?
In the end, it all comes back as a full circle.