Why is that doing the right thing always hurts?! Take shoveling your neighbour’s driveway for instance; this hurts! Literally. You’re out shoveling the pile of freshly plowed snowed from the bottom of your driveway, because you are on the evening or night shift and you just know that there is no way that your neighbour is going to be able to drive his car over that mound of snow that plow makes, so over you go to do the right thing and shovel his driveway too. There’s this real love-hate thing with the snow plows. We all rejoice that they come by and the roads are drivable but then swear profusely that they managed to trap us in our own driveway with the mountain of snow they leave behind. It’s called life in Canada. Although I’m sure that a lot of northern Americans have the same feeling. So an hour later and you’re a soaked in sweat, sore and panting. You have that satisfaction of having done the right thing, but your tired body really could care less. Moral of the story…..doing the right thing hurts. Just like exercise. It hurts too. Also the right thing. See there is pain involved.
Now, this doesn’t mean that we can all just turn to the dark side so to speak and no longer do the right thing. No that is not the point. Although it would make things easier wouldn’t it. Let’s face it the bad guys in movies always have more fun, better guns, and no consequences until the end of the movie and sometimes not even then! Hmmm. Still when being good is more of your instinct then stuck with the pain you are. I never really thought too hard about this until I became a parent. Nothing makes you contemplate the reasons for your morality more than needing to shape another persons’ moral compass. Presumably, the lessons you give your children will stick with them in life and help shape the direction they go out in the world. No pressure! So how do you know what is the right thing to teach them? I mean if doing the right thing hurts, then why do it? And the argument should be a good one because you have an audience to convince here. An audience with a short attention span and propensity for being egocentric! Tough crowd. So why do it?
While shoveling I asked myself this several times, along with the question of why I continue to move to places that get snow; lots and lots of snow. I don’t know the answer to the second question, but the first has a lot to do with instinct. It was instinctual for me to do it. But it goes beyond that because my instinct to stop when I was tired was definitely stronger. No, it was more about kindness I think. It was more about doing for another human being what I would hope they would do for me. About an almost collective kindness towards a fellow human being. It is something I feel often, which is one reason I was so well suited to healthcare work. However, it is also something that sets me up for being taken advantage of. Not in this case, but more often then I would like to admit, my good nature has set me up for being a doormat. Regardless I refuse to give up my good attitude. So despite the pain, I would shovel again. Maybe there doesn’t have to be a good reason for it, just that someone will be happier because of it. Either way, actions must be a good teaching tool, because I know my kids have the same instincts to help others. That makes it so worth it in the end.