Recently, I heard this comment made about an individual, “He always does the right thing.” For example, he hesitated about accepting a foreign exchange student given his very busy work and life schedule — until he read a letter from the mother of the prospective student. She described how the 16-year-old girl had been an outstanding support for her through the tragic loss of her husband and son — the girl’s father and brother — and knew that she would be a positive guest in a faraway home.
Our friend said he knew then that the right thing to do was to accept the challenge and provide a life experience for the girl. He had lost his own mother at a young age after helping his father care for her through a deadly bout with cancer. He felt his own experience would help him to empathize with the student from Paraguay.
I had to contemplate what defines a standup person who others see as always “doing the right thing.” There is always a list out in cyberspace of 10 things for any given topic. This one compiled by Mal James, a writer with a “passion for self-development, productivity and relationships,” seemed comprehensive and thought-provoking to me.
• Be honest, even when it’s hard.
• Stand up for what you believe in. (Plato: “Your silence gives consent.”)
Do what you say you will do. (Abraham Lincoln: “We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot.”)
• Do not lie for personal gain or to hurt others.
• Treat everyone equally.
• Consider the bigger picture.
• Be loyal.
• Try to see things from other points of view (aka empathy).
• Do not gossip.
• Remain level-headed even in times of stress.
These attributes are worthy of aspiring to, as it could be said, “It’s the road less traveled.”
Fall is officially here. There are the usual descriptive cliches: crisp air, crunchy leaves, sweater weather, cozy fires, pumpkin spice, and hot cider. Still, the warmth of the sun as it makes its way to the southern sky and the chill of the nights headed toward the first frost, are a pleasure to the senses. It’s the last gasp of a summer well lived here in the Methow before the darkness of winter settles in.
A recent horse ride on Jack’s Trail was notable for the quietness and the long shadows of autumn. Only fellow Mazamans were on the trail, enjoying bicycle rides to the far meadow (the bench is back — refurbished and repositioned). Methow Trails has been busy mowing and marking the trails for cross-country skiers. Soon, the first flakes will fly, and autumn days will be in the rear-view mirror. Good reminder to breathe the fresh air deeply (and begin the “get ready for winter” chores).