When it comes to discerning the difference between right and wrong, our gut tells us what we should do.
The things we think, do and say make up the character the world experiences. How we carry ourselves, our demeanour and our presence become evident. The choices we make reveal who we are. And we do have choices, always. Choosing to do what is right is a no-brainer.
So, why do we sometimes find it so difficult?
Growing up in our neighbourhood, kids were playing everywhere. After school and on weekends, the streets and backyards became our playground. Like every other white middle-class suburb of the 60s and 70s. The suburb was an eclectic mix of immigrants from Europe — mainly British, Portuguese, Italian and Greek — and Afrikaans folk. Although both my parents were Afrikaans, they raised us to speak English. We went to English schools which meant we had English friends.
The neighbourhood kids lived and played together in a fragile harmony.
There was always a certain amount of tension between Afrikaners and English-speaking people. I suspect due to remnants of the Second Boer War of 1899–1902. The British forces took a heavy battering to a far smaller Boer outfit, but the Redcoats eventually won the war. The tensions remain fuelled within the Afrikaans culture.
When I was around 8 or 9 years old, an older Afrikaans boy who lived a house down from us cornered me in the street. He got me to agree to a bet. A bet with a handshake, something I had never done before. He bet me R15 that he could beat me in a Scalextric slot-car race. My older brother had a track and we would play for hours, so I fancied my chances of beating him.
We went to his room where the figure-of-8 track was set up. Unknown to me, he had a fancy James Bond racing car that could flip the opponent’s car off the track. He gave me my normal car and set the rules. If your car came off the track, you had to put it back where it came off and carry on from there. The race was over in a few minutes. I was shattered that he had cheated but was too scared to say anything to him. Then he said I must hand over the money.
I went to my Dad and asked him for the R15 — a small fortune for a childish bet. When my Dad heard I’d taken a bet without having the money, he reprimanded me. As he opened his wallet and took out the money, he said:
“You always pay your bets”.
Like most, I try to do what is right — but I fail often. There are areas in life where doing right is non-negotiable. Like being kind and caring. Especially to children and women, the marginalised and underprivileged. Every person who has less than you is someone you can help.
In a world with half-truths, false truths, my truth and the truth, make your line in the sand and do right.
Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄
As always, thanks for reading 🙏
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