By Your Deeds

You're standing at the line and with one more roll of the ball, you will accomplish the first 300 game of your life. You've been bowling for 20 years now, since you were just in first grade. Your friends are watching you silently not wanting to put undue pressure on you and your heart is beating like a drum. Suddenly there's a blaring message over the PA system. "May I have everyone’s attention?! Stop bowling immediately and leave the building in an orderly manner. The building is on fire. Please! Everyone! Evacuate the building NOW!" You look at your friends who have frozen there with you. You need to leave NOW and so do they. Let me ask you something. Do you throw that last ball anyway?

The car salesman has written up all your paper work and is about to hand you the keys. As you were doing business he explained that today was his last day on the job. He and his family were moving away and he was taking another job in a different industry. He asks you to take a last look at the figures and make sure everything is right. As you proofread the invoice he has clearly made an error which is actually in your favor. If you don't correct his mistake you will save $1,500 on the total price. He's holding out the keys to you with one hand and is waiting to shake your hand with the other as soon as you give him the "All OK." He's leaving tomorrow. Chances are no one will ever catch the error. The dang car was pretty expensive to begin with. These car salesmen are rip-off artists anyway, right?  Let me ask you something. Do you point out the error or do you drive away?

Your buddy hit the lottery when it comes to girlfriends. He got the sweetest, most beautiful mate yet you know he cheats on her constantly and flirts with everyone. You guys work together at the pizza joint and on his break you saw him get in the car with one of the waitresses and leave the parking lot. Who knows where they might end up? You watch them drive away. When you turn around his girlfriend is standing right there watching you. She smiles a reluctant grin and asks you if that were her boyfriend who just left with some girl. You know she knows it was him so you can't lie but should you cover for him?  Tell her they were running to the store for something the restaurant ran out of? Just as you are about to tell that whopper she looks at you with those crystal, sad eyes and says, "Eddie, be honest with me, please. Is he faithful?" You know for a fact you can bury the guy right here and now and perhaps then you can have her for your own. What will he say when she confronts him and he knows you were the source? Yeah, sure he’s the one who messed up but he won't see it that way. Your other buddies probably won't either.

Let me ask you something, Eddie. What are you going to do?

Tough calls, huh? Every one of them. Yeah I know you can sit there and answer like Dudley Do-Right and give the moralistic proper response on all of them but be honest, there's at least a little dilemma here, right? What we want is often not positioned as the right thing to do. Look at some of the people that made a choice in the moment and lived to regret it. Remember a couple years ago when that captain beached that cruise ship and was one of the first ones off the boat and securely in a safe place? Whatever happened to the valiant hero that goes last and perhaps down with the ship? Not in this version. He made a choice in the moment that will likely haunt him the rest of his life.

What about the parents that divorce quickly and suddenly because of a one-time momentary indulgence or lack of discretion that forever cost them the trust of their mate?  After the dust settles and the divorce is final, did they move too quickly? Did forgiveness become a consideration too late in the game? Is there regret in making a rash decision even though it is justified?

How about friends that argue but wish they could take back the thing they said that was so hurtful and damaging? What about quick reaction “gestures” made in vehicular traffic just to realize the person you are gesturing to is just about the size and age of your grandmother; you know the one you always forgive and just shake your head at when she drives over your hedges when she comes over? Fact is we seem a lot more tolerant depending on which side of the argument we seem to be standing on. What we should and shouldn’t do becomes a very subjective topic.

I don't claim to have answers to this observation. I know a lot of what we need to do most of the time with anything that challenges our patience, morals, and opinion is SLOW DOWN. Things look a lot different when we let logic seep in and usher hurried judgments out.

But clearly making good decisions requires emotional maturity and when you live with an emotionally mature attitude you conduct yourself with enviable traits that allow people to look up to you, respect you and know that your deeds speak volumes about the person you are.

So then I find it’s all one package. See, the person who can answer all of these questions without hesitation has clearly got his eye on greater rewards than just self-satisfaction.  He/she knows that you don’t lie to the salesman no matter how much he’d lie to you and you don’t mislead your friends even if it is for the sake of your other friend. Actually you should have had a talk with your cheating friend long ago telling him that you expect him to be honest with his girlfriend because you refuse to cover up his lies at all. You know to respect the elderly, control your temper, do your job completely and thoroughly and even maybe give your mate a second chance for a big mistake he/she made. Perhaps you may not find it within yourself to grant forgiveness for a violation of trust but you should at least be willing to hear their story and judge if they are truly sorry/regretful. Someday this gesture will give YOU peace when looking back. Leading a life of truth can provide you with a life of peace. And a life of peace seems to almost guarantee you of a life of serenity; at least as it involves the one thing you can control ... which is you.

Ron Ciancutti has worked in the parks and recreation industry since he was 16 years old, covering everything from maintenance, operations, engineering, surveying, park management, design, planning, recreation, and finance. He holds a BS in Business from Bowling Green State University and an MBA from Baldwin Wallace University and has held his current position as Director of Procurement since 1990.