The Right Thing To Do


by Coach Ronn Wyckoff, Author/Producer

Basketball On A Triangle

In THE PROPHET’S WAY, by Thom Hartman, I first read, The right thing to do is to do the right thing”. I have since taken that statement as a maxim for living my life. I will admit to not having perfected it yet, but I really try to live by this “rule” I’ve adopted for myself—everywhere, no matter where I find myself. (I find it especially important to live this maxim both when no one is watching and when they are.) I realize that I must practice, practice, practice it in order to polish it, but I plan to get very good at it. Like any new skill, some days I’m better at it than others.

How many of us know what is ‘right’? How is ‘right’ defined, and how do we define ‘right’ for ourselves? How is it measured, and who sets the guidelines, anyway? Ever notice how some people just always seem to do or say the ‘right’ thing and make , better choices than others do? How do they do that?

I have discovered through a new awareness that life is made up of choices.Lots of them!Our individual value systems, habits and levels of spiritual development seem to determine how and what choices we make. Much of our ability to determine ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ comes from our perception of how our parents, family, peers and other role models make their choices, and from our own relationship with GOD. And, these same role models acting out their own relationships with GOD often influence our relationship with GOD.

As adults, who are our role models? How have they affected our choices? And, now as decision makers and role models, how do our children perceive us? We are always role modeling for the next generation; SO, we are the figures our children will model themselves after.

The famous U.C.L.A. basketball coach, John Wooden, wrote, “Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating. Youngsters need good role models more than they need critics.It’s one of a parent’s greatest responsibilities and opportunities.”It is all of this, too, for all of those who, in addition to you, role model for your children.I have tried to bring this positive role modeling into my teaching and coaching of sports, but it is also a challenge at all levels in our community. Coach Wooden goes on to write; “…a parent can help direct a child when it comes to goals. Show leadership. Show discipline. Show industriousness. Have traditional values. The person you are is the person your child will become.” Re-read that last sentence. This can be a parent’s legacy or a curse. It all comes down to choices.

CHOICES. We all make hundreds of them minute-by-minute, daily, weekly which affect our lives in small to big ways because each choice carries with it a result. Think about anything we’ve done, and we can trace its ‘good’ results or ‘bad’ results back through a series of choices to the original choice that got us started on that path.

If we’re not happy with the results we’re having, perhaps reviewing our choices could put things into better perspective. I read recently, “if we’re not happy with the results, we need only to change our choices”. As Coach Wooden said: “Don’t whine. Don’t complain. Don’t make excuses. Take responsibility for what we say and do.” After the word, BUT… everything else we may say is just an excuse, a disclaimer, a justification.

According to Neale Donald Walsch, co-creator of the CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD trilogy, the first thought we have about anything is our ‘highest thought’ and it comes from our GOD SPIRIT. (This ‘highest thought’ will be based in forgiveness of ourselves and all others, unconditional love, our being non-judgmental, compassionate toward others and truthful in all ways.) Walsch says we can consider this ‘highest thought’ a ‘right’ thought.

Accepting responsibility for “who we are,” means examining our choices at every turn. The way we choose defines who we are in a given moment. We may start with a ‘highest thought’, but if we begin to rationalize, compromise, justify and excuse, soon we may find we’ve moved away from SPIRIT and are making choices from ego.

Teaching these concepts to our children will require our living by these same concepts. In order for our children to understand how the principles work in our everyday decision-making and relationships, we must be the models they see.

I find it interesting that we define in our consciousness who we wish to be by the choices we make at any moment. “Who we are” then, is seen in the results we manifest. And, if our ‘highest thought’ is love or peace, how might this change a result? How might it change our life? Our world? The future?