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Decision Making is Educational: Doing Our Part

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Whenever my daughter asks me why she needs to do certain things when her friends may not even appreciate it, I’d adjust her unwillingness or anxiety by reminding her to “just do your part.” Because when we do what’s appropriate and responsible, it’s from a place of self-respect as well as responsible citizenship.

 

Regarding self-respect, I’d share with my daughter the idea that we can’t control how other people will react to our gestures, but if it’s the right thing to do, then we need to do it out of a moral obligation to ourselves. We can’t worry too much about whether others will agree with us, appreciate us, or like us more. If things are done with good and responsible intentions, people will “get it”. And if they don’t “get it” at this instant, they may “get it” at some point in the future. Or if they never “get it”, so be it. Because in the end, it will make us feel good knowing that at least, we did our part.

“Doing our part” could be guided by our instincts, moral obligations, beliefs, values, good intentions, and experience

Being responsible will add to our repertoire of good deeds towards self-love. By loving the empathetic decisions that stem from our responsible intentions, we will love how those resulting actions will make us feel about ourselves. And from that place of healthy self-love, we would have the capacity to take control of how we want to spread goodness to others.

Therefore, I’d also tell my daughter that while we need to “do our part” out of self-obligation, that we also need to consider others in the process.

After all, a part belongs to a whole. If we “do our part” we could influence the impact of the whole. More exactly, doing our part on an individual level will contribute to the goodness and harmony of the whole community, in which we are a part of.

To my daughter, that’s a reminder to “do our part” not only for reasons in and of itself, but to keep in mind that it is also part of our civic responsibility as a daily service to our family, friends and/or community.

Moreover, before we “do our part” we should consider others’ feeling and needs before we decide how to carry out our part of the whole.

However, it’s become so natural for us to be in constant movement physically and mentally towards productivity that we miss the stillness of feeling. We forget to feel how others may feel before we make a decision -- making a deliberate effort to stop for a moment to feel brings us to the level of empathy, so that our decisions could reflect what’s best for collective well-being.

“Doing our part” could be guided by our instincts, moral obligations, beliefs, values, good intentions, and experience. Unfortunately, most of us cannot remove opinion and judgment in our deliberations before “doing our part”. However, with practice and education, perhaps this on-going process of “doing our part” will eventually come with ease and joy, rather than sarcasm, frustrations or worry.

I hope that by doing my part as a parent and sharing with my daughter the benefits and goodness of “doing our part”, that I’m also “doing my part” as a responsible citizen. I believe that we can all contribute to making a difference in our own small yet significant way, as long as we empower ourselves to “do our part” individually.

While we strive as parents to set our children in the right course, our children will eventually find their own inner reason to continue in the right path. I have faith that they will be motivated to keep “doing their part” when they discover the genuine pride that comes when we act within the realm of moral conscience, integrity, empathy and service.

Flora Chan

Flora Chan was born in Hong Kong and raised in Boston, USA where she pursued a dual career in television and teaching..

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