I believe in doing the right thing. Often times, it is a lot harder to do the right thing rather than doing something else or nothing at all. This reigns true for almost any scenario, from holding the door open for someone to forgiving others for their mistakes. As a young child, this concept of always trying to do the right thing was simply a lesson my parents tried to teach me, an idea that seemed to fly over my head. This changed, however, when my world was flipped upside down.
I was 10 years old when my father told me he was being deployed to Iraq as part of his military service. Devastation, confusion, and sadness swept over me. I was feeling sorry for not only myself, but my mother and sister as well, because I knew how hard the following 14 months were going to be. My sister and I both played multiple sports, hockey and baseball for myself, lacrosse and swimming for her. As I said, I was 10 years old, and she was 8. It was going to be an absolute nightmare for my mother to even attempt to drive us to each and every practice and game, making sure we each had three meals every day. This, along with making sure we were performing well in school, proved to be quite the burden early on.
The first day after my father left, my mother had to take me to baseball, drop me off, take my sister to lacrosse, pick me up, pick my sister up, and finally take us home. On the way home, our car got a flat tire, and that night I sat awake in my bed, listening to my mother weep alone in her room.
It appeared that this stretch was going to be tougher than we thought. That is, until the community we lived in stepped in. Families of teammates for both our teams began to offer rides to and from practices and games. Neighbors would make amazing dinners and bring it over for us to enjoy. Friends would invite my sister and I over to spend the night, giving my mother some much needed nights off. Why were all these people doing this for us? Wasn’t driving out of their way to pick me up a huge inconvenience? Why were they cooking us dinner and not cooking for themselves?
It was because it was the right thing to do.
These families knew the challenge we were facing and stopped at nothing to help. It would have been so easy for them to just turn a blind eye to us. To this day, my family and I are indebted to these people for their graciousness and generosity. Their actions also made a lasting impression on a pair of young kids. To this day, I always strive and will continue to strive to do the right thing, regardless of the difficulty or inconvenience it presents.
This essay was written for Dr. Elizabeth Flowers’ World Religions in America course. You can read more about the TCU Religion Department here.