The Right Thing

For all of my adult life, I have tried to ‘do the right thing’. To treat people as I would like to be treated, and care for my family as best as I can. To look out for them as they get older, and need more help. To encourage the younger ones in their studies, and be good friends with them as they grow.

At work, I tried to always do the job I had signed up for, and keep any absences or irregular working methods to a minimum. Although I was never religious, I sought to always respect the beliefs of others, and to try to understand their culture, if it was different to my own. And in marriages and relationships, I stood up for my partner, and did my best to contribute at all times, both financially, and emotionally.

Dealing with strangers, neighbours, even a bus driver or someone selling newspapers, I showed respect. and politeness. And I gave them the benefit of the doubt that they would be good people, unless they showed me otherwise. Even when it came to pets, I cared for my dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and rabbits as if they were really part of the family. I made sure they got the best food, fresh water, and regular trips to the vet. No animal I was ever responsible for ever wanted for anything.

When I became involved with politics and trades unions, it was in an effort to do the right thing. To fight for others; to battle for decent working conditions, and respectable salaries. And now that I am retired, I continue to show people respect, no matter how young or old they are. I like to think that people think of me as a decent person. Someone who does the right thing. That still matters to me a great deal.

But so many people never try to do the right thing. They treat women and men badly, disrespect their friends, lie, cheat, steal, and betray. We all know them, and see them all around us. When I was younger, it was the ‘bad boys’. They were the ones the popular girls always wanted to be seen with, no matter how shabbily they were treated by them. At work, it was the shirkers, the excuse-makers, the people who seemed to be getting away with doing less than half as much as everyone else, but still remaining popular.

In politics, it is the liars and most corrupt who seem to get the most respect. They are virtually fireproof it appears, and they continue with their lucrative careers and dodgy sidelines, oblivious to exposure from the press, or the complaints of those around them. They are those ‘bad boys’ from school, now grown up.

Many people mistreat and abuse animals. They buy dogs just so they can hit them, or make them fight for profit. They tie them up in all weathers, in filthy conditions, and fail to give them adequate food and water. Society is outraged, and they even make TV shows about this ongoing problem. But little happens to the perpetrators. They get tiny fines, that they usually fail to pay, and short bans from owning pets, which they ignore. They carry on regardless, getting more animals to abuse. And the cycle continues.

Others (male and female) mistreat their partners, even their children. They have affairs, leave babies unfed and unchanged, and rage against any criticism of their behaviour. Punishment for such actions is also puny, and dependent on terrified witnesses, or children too young and helpless to speak up for themselves. Some show violence to both partners and children too, occasionally with horrific consequences. But someone speaks up for them, with stories about their own past neglect, and how society isn’t supporting them adequately. We are blackmailed into feeling sorry for such people, and trying to overlook the severity of their actions. Even when they are jailed, light sentences rarely provide sufficient deterrent.

So after more than fifty years of doing that right thing, there are times when I wonder what it was all for. It seems that those who have never done so much as one thing right are the ones enjoying life much more. And is it any wonder that year on year, it just continues to get worse? No examples are being set by those who should be setting them. And when all around you you can see the worst people in society flourishing, then what is the incentive to do good?

But don’t worry. I will continue to do the right thing. I am too old to change now. But never think it is easy.

71 thoughts on “The Right Thing

  1. Pete, I spotted this post in Reader and it resonates so much with me. I was horribly bullied from 6th grade until I changed schools during my senior year. I saw so many of the bullies enjoy popularity while I was demonized by the entire school. So I remember thinking the very same things that you do.

    But today, 30 years later, the same bullies from school are living miserable lives, and aren’t happy at all. They haven’t changed one bit and actually worse and more brutal now than they were then- because they’re so miserable and life never turned out for them like they’d hoped. Many of them are on drugs, have terrible home lives, are in and out of jail or working crappy jobs. They really haven’t accomplished much.

    Know that what goes around also comes around and people who are entitled usually meet their karma sooner or later.

    Thank you for posting such a powerful and thought-provoking article!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You mentioned you aren’t religious but you might be interested to know that righteous people ask this very question to God and it’s recorded in the scriptures. Basically the answer was they might look like they’re living it up despite their evil ways, but one day they will be judged . However those who reject Jesus will be in the same group as the evil ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I suppose, Pete, it depends on how you view enjoying life. I would never get pleasure from shirking or hurting others or disrespecting them. I am a lot like you. Lots of people like me because I take an interest in them, from the tea lady to the CEO. I would not change and become a shadow of what I believe in.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Acts of kindness never go unnoticed. The plonkers you think are getting ahead in life really aren’t as happy and you may believe. To the outside world it may appear they have a lot of worldly possessions and seem successful. However, they have still failed at life, because they have failed as a human being. Then of course, there’s always karma. Nobody can escape her wrath. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hear hear, Pete. I have come to learn that we may never know how doing the right thing has influenced and even changed others. I know that it feels good, and I also know that the media rarely runs a story on goodness. Evil seems to be the catching thing. Well, that’s a shame because it influences people, especially young people. So, I will keep doing the right thing. I’m glad you will, too. Best to you, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a mystery life is, for i have had the same thoughts. Some seem to profit, that ought not to. It can be disheartening at times. Maybe the fact that we can sleep without guilt and walk with a clear conscience is the real prize, after all. Sadly, I think society is in poor shape in many ways, but it is their loss not to act right, for at least we have that -hey Pete, I do believe there is a God and though I do not preach, I take great comfort in doing my best. Intentions do matter and yours, to live well , make a difference in this world. Go well, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post πŸ™‚ I hear ya and wonder the same things too. Perhaps the only thing left that one could hope for is that people who are like that get visited by three ghosts to convince them to change their ways πŸ™‚ Try to guess what piece of literature I am referencing πŸ™‚ Anyway, keep up the great work as always πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. From the number of comments you’ve received, most bloggers also want to do the ‘right thing’, unlike the rest of the b******s, which I notice also starts with a b and ends in s, and has the same number of letters as bloggers.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Respect, one those character traits we badly need in this world. Some people though like those corrupt politicians do not deserve my respect. They are destroying the image of the country and the entire population.

    They say respect begets respect, I wholeheartedly agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a moving post Pete, that reached out to me as well. I’ve always tried to do the right thing and be kind and help others as much as I can. Maybe it’s because of the childhood I had, but it’s important to me to treat people the way I’d like to be treated. Despite all the awfulness in the world I still believe there are more good people in it than bad. It’s just that we hear about the bad more.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. As you and John both said, we hear about it more now. But I also encounter a lot of rudeness and arrogance in my everyday life that I find rather depressing. And no doubt the advent of cyber-bullying and trolling has made it much easier for bad people to do bad things more easily.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Pete, I choose to believe that the overwhelming majority feel – and act – as you do…not flawlessly, but the goal is there: decency, respect, the greater good. However, we are now in a world where EVERYTHING is magnified, blasted out far beyond its significance…if we lived on a scale of 1-10, “these go to eleven” it seems now…it doesn’t mean its worse, it just means we hear about all of it…or so I choose to believe…

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I try to be kind and forgiving. With the American news and political scene, being a bad guy is the norm, I’m afraid. I just try to have faith in the guys that still wear the white hats. Glad you are staying on course.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Well, Pete, even if you aren’t aware of it, you are setting an example to others by always trying to do the right thing. Your post is similar to one by Sally Cronin a few days ago. I don’t know if you saw it: About people demanding their rights without understanding those rights come with obligations.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I have tried to do the right thing as well and learned like you that not everyone knows how to approach others with respect (that is why we have Trump supporters) it is sad…..I as well will continue to to what I have always done and let others bask in my light…LOL chuq

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What Cindy said πŸ™‚ I see acts of kindness all the time, only occasionally marred by the selfless stupidity of idiots, but then I see them as that and they pass me by. Reading the news can make you think it is far worse than it is, as others have commented, so avoiding can be a good start to a more optimistic outlook. That and red wine πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I admit that red wine is on board now, albeit too late.
      I know that so many people do good things. But every year that I go on, that group seems to diminish in size.
      Cheers Eddy. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I hear your message, feel your frustration, and continue to do the right thing myself. Absolutely understand what you’re saying here.

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    Liked by 1 person

  17. If you read or watch the news, we are inundated with bad press. An account of all the bad we’ve done at the local, community, national, international level. Every day. That’s enough to make anyone think the world has gone to the crapper and as a species as Sweeny Todd would say, “We all deserve to die, Mrs. Lovett.”
    Nothing has changed. Nothing is worse than what happened to the globe during WWII, and that was over 70 years ago.
    There will always be the good and the bad, the hero and the coward, and the saint and the sinner. All we can strive for is to be the former and not the latter.
    Chin up, friend, there’s a lot of wonderful people out there doing great, humane things!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks, Cindy. I know lots of people are doing their best. But the ‘bad guys’ keep winning, and the rest of us keep losing. When and how will it end? Put it down to a bad day, my very dear friend. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete. x


  18. Who decides what is right or wrong is entirely up to you and no one else can decide for you… hence, is there an expectation that what you do that you feel is right will end up being paid forward and spread around the world? Consider this, Pete… as we all dance on Shakespeare’s stage of life, some of us will meander about aimlessly, occassionally bumping into another, interacting, then moving on. Others of us will also meander about trying to define purpose, bumping into others along our own journeys, yet leaving our various interactive encounters leaving a trail.. of hope.
    And you are correct… most of us won’t change because we are who we are to the end… and history won’t even see the dust that we once were soon enough. Live for now, buddy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have tried to ‘live for now’ for most of my life. But I have nonetheless found that to be a great challenge, faced by so much that is ‘bad’.
      Thanks, Doug.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  19. I rather suspect that if you were able to take a honest survey of people, that the vast bulk follow your behavior pattern and do right or what they think is right and not the pattern set by the “bad boys.” Yes, the “bad boys” show up in the news, but then if you think about it, things out of the ordinary are NEWS, so the bad things, and the especially bad things get into the news. Do not confuse news with popularity or approval. Here, we live in a perpetual climate of outrage over the things the twit does and says. That speaks volumes of the fact what he is up to is news–bad things. That he has so much support in Congress and in the electorate says that too many people think news is popular and not what it is, a report of bad things out of the ordinary. Yes, it is depressing to watch and endure. However, if you stick to the beaten path of doing what is right, it will help greatly to mitigate the bad things that the few are doing and getting in the news because of their doing bad things. Stay the course, as you say you will.
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’m with you … completely and utterly. I try, I really try to be a good person. I loathe with a passion those who show unkindness to children and animals. I loathe the foul bullies at school who caused me such misery and left me with a complete lack of self confidence and inability to trust people and have normal relationships. Your post completely and utterly is everything that I want to say and I thank you for it because it’s simply so wonderful to know that there are good people out there too. I have to hope that one day these revolting parasitic peasants will get their comeuppance. I love being moved by a post. Thank you. Katie x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, Katie. I am so pleased to hear how this post resonated with you. Your single comment made it worth my while to write it. πŸ™‚ If you were moved, then that brings me to tears too.
      Thank you, for your lovely comment. You make an old man happy.
      Very best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Geez, you were taking a scary turn there, sounding like your own eulogy! People can discern kindness. Some just prefer to ignore it for personal gain. They amused my dad. I haven’t gotten to that point yet.

    Liked by 1 person

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