This blog comes from some questions last week on another blog site that I visit regularly. KelliDunlap.com, if you have never heard of her that is ok, I won’t judge you. I should also mention her name is not Kelli Dunlap now but instead it is Kelli Owens. Kelli is an awesome writer in both fiction and non-fiction categories, she is also a person whom I have grown to respect over the past year. Her blog last week was about compasses and what gives you your true north and your direction in life. Here is the question she posed to all of her readers:
“Do you have a compass? Nah, that’s a given, even if it’s a little broken one, you’ve still got one. Ok, how about: Where’d you get it from? Does your moral compass come from your upbringing? Your faith? Your experiences? Your desires to be a certain way? How did you come to the morals that you hold yourself by?”
My initial reaction to these questions was to be short, snarky and disrespectful. You know, the way I normally am when faced with something serious.
But then I stopped and thought about the meaning of the questions, where they came from and what was this person trying to learn. Once I did that I just knew I had to write a response, but that response quickly became long winded and quickly outgrew the comment section of her blog so I erased it and started this as my response and what you are about to read is what I came up with:
Yes, of course I have a compass, and yes that compass has been known to malfunction on occasion much like a 1988 Yugo. Sometimes at the most inopportune moments, going uphill for example or downhill or sitting in a meeting with my supervisor, at dinner with my spouse, on the phone with my dad, in polite conversation with… well… anyone. I am by far from being tactful and responsible in just about any given situation but I always try to do the right thing. I try.
Where does this “Due North” unseen plotted course come from in me? No idea, I am sure that if I had spent more time on one of my many therapists couches I would have discovered it quickly and efficiently and in a way that would have cost thousands of dollars and many expensive mood altering drugs. To which I say “NO! I don’t want ‘em and I don’t need ‘em!”
But I can guess.
I can guess where my Northerly direction yearning is from. If hard pressed I would say it comes from a variety of outside influences as well as some pre-programmed, hard wired NEED to be a good person, to not goof everything up and upset everyone in my life. To try and get along with folks but not necessarily to fit in with them.
I do believe that all humans are born onto this our earth with an inherent desire to good and that as we grow and mature other “Outside” influences and experiences imprint themselves on our psyche. Now, how we handle those influences and experiences will dictate our course in a Northerly, Southerly, and Easterly or Westerly direction. But, that it were so easy… We need tools to handle life’s issues and it is the responsibility of our Parents and Siblings to help us develop those tools.
Through those teachings or in some cases failed teaching We learn what we should do, should not do, what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. We grow, we discover our path and our purpose. I know it sounds crazy but this is the way I see things. In some cases the best lessons we learn are through our failures and the failures of others. We learn that to forgive and show grace is right and to seek revenge and hold grudges is wrong. We learn to look after our fellow mankind and be charitable, we even teach our children to share. (Remember taking your offspring to the local fast food joint and trying to get a French Fry from them?) You taught them how to share, whether you meant to or not that is what you did.
Back on track
So, where does my Northerly compass course come from? Simple, I am a faithful man, I try to follow and I believe in the teachings of Christ but even before I started down that road I still maintained the Golden Rule, which I believe, comes from one of Christ’s teachings as well as being written in Leviticus 19:18 which is the 3 book of the Old Testament.
Where does that leave me in all this introspective drivel? Simple:
1. I believe I was not born to do bad things.
2. I believe that everyone has within them the desire to treat everyone as well as they want to be treated.
3. Through life’s growth and experiences do we learn how to interact with people in our community.
4. What is acceptable in some places is not necessarily acceptable everywhere.
5. I try to be as good a person as I can be and not let things bother me too much. Although I don’t always succeed in this, I at least try and when I do fail I am not above not apologizing for my actions or inactions.
6. My Northerly Direction comes from the fact that I want to leave this world a better place than when I was in it and I want to leave this world in more loving and capable hands such as my Daughter.
7. My Daughters nickname is Goose in honor of the real life weapons and navigation officer who kept his fighter pilot from crashing and burning and getting too out of hand and her nickname serves as a constant reminder to me of why I am here and what kind of impression I am trying to leave behind when I am gone.
Have a great week and try to be nice to each other.