Do the right thing, especially when no one else does

Tomorrow is Monday, the head of the work week but the weekend is recess time. This is my life, like it is for most of you, but this blog is about jumping off the swing between play and work.

I was sitting by the pool one weekend, reading The Art of Non-Conformity, by Chris Guillebeau. The book is one of the main drivers that has empowered me to let go of the swing. I recommend setting aside a snippet of your day for one week to have Chris realign your perception of work and life. As I lay on my lounge chair reading, I noticed two young girls jumping into the pool. I saw one climb up on a molded plastic chair. The chair wobbled and tipped slightly as she jumped into the water. I watched the other girl start climbing up on the chair. I spoke forcefully across the pool, “You guys, that is bad idea.” They both immediately stopped what they were doing. One of them quietly said, “Ok.”

There was a couple close-by to me and the guy said, “Good going, man.”

I replied, “I couldn’t help saying something. It would ruin my day to see someone wreck themselves right in front of me.”

And the two girls were right in front of us all. It was a small pool, with at least five other people besides me sitting around it.  Why hadn’t anyone said anything?

During the week, we gather into groups, in our offices, managed by others and by our schedules. We know our responsibility there. When we are not working, we are back on the playground, but without our teacher. Whose job is it to supervise? We supervise ourselves. We decide when something is right or wrong and it is our responsibility to speak up.

I felt good after preventing the girls from having an accident. But I felt strange that I had hesitated because of the acceptance of the others.  I think everyone has the same sense of right and wrong. We just need to be reminded that we can express it, and take responsibility for something outside of our work description. We should not be afraid to speak out even though no one else will.

Our existence as human beings depends on it.

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