Thursday, September 12, 2013
"Stand up for what is right, even if you're standing alone."
Those are words said by the character Atticus Finch from one of my all time favorite novels and movies To Kill A Mockingbird. Yesterday, I had posted these exact words on Facebook due to a recent incident where I had to do just that. Benjamin saw me post it and knew why I had posted it. He asked me if I would do the same thing over again, knowing now, that I would be alone.
"Yes, Benjamin, I would," I replied, "Sometimes the right thing to do is not the easy thing. Oftentimes, doing the right thing will not make you popular, but I honestly believe popularity is overrated. More often, it will isolate you from the crowd." To quote Atticus Finch again, "The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
In this day and age, it is far easier to go along with the crowd than it is to rock the boat.
Benjamin and I then had a lengthy discussion and I told him, "It's not going to be easy for you to stand up for what is right in a culture that has become so permissive and is not protective of children. Other kids will get to see and do things that you won't. You may get made fun of for this or be left out or not invited. Values are not valued. And just because the majority believe something, doesn't make it right. You may be the lone voice. And if you go into science, your faith is really going to be questioned greatly by others who would scoff at them. You have to decided what is more important to you: your faith or the opinion of your peers. That's never going to be an easy choice. Ever. But your choices define who you are. Ultimately, you will have to stand before God for them just as I will have to stand before Him for mine. I don't take this lightly. But even before I stand before God, I have to stand before you and Cava. I can't just tell you what you should do, I have to live how you should live. Integrity and character are defined not just by what one says but, more importantly, by what one does. And you and Cava can see that: when I have been a man of my word and when I've missed the mark. When I, or you, do miss the mark, then we must do all we can to right it. We must seek grace in the same manner we extend it to others."
As I'm talking to Benjamin, I become aware that Cava is listening in on our conversation. I'm glad. I don't know how much of what I'm saying he understands, but I hope that, with time, he will.
When our conversation ended, Benjamin told me, "Papa, I'm glad that you did stand up."
I am too because it meant we got to have that conversation and that he saw me doing more than just talking.