The Wrong Thing For The Right Reason

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Have you ever done the wrong thing for the right reason? I sure have.

A few weeks ago, I was reading “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts. One of the recurring themes was that of doing the wrong thing for the right reason. In the book, the main character’s mentor was a Muslim who was fighting a holy war. He (the mentor) ended up manipulating the main character to assist him in his holy war. Of course, every person of any religious faith believes they’re doing the right thing. Duh! Why else would they do something religious-based?

For a Muslim like the one in question, a holy war is the right thing to do. Yet, even the mentor knew manipulating the main character was wrong. The wrong thing for the right reason.

When working with a guide dog, Carson and I are often under close observation. Same goes for most any dog and handler. It seems people see Carson doing his job, think, “Wow! What a well trained dog!” and that’s all the further they go. Let’s never, EVER forget that a dog is a dog. Even a well trained dog will make mistakes. Just like people-even someone as brilliant as, oh, Stephen Hawking, will make mistakes. Yet, if observers see Carson misjudge a curb or cut a corner a little too short, people may immediately think, “Oh, that dog isn’t very good!”

Of course Carson is going to make mistakes! He’s human! Or close to it, at least!

And when a dog makes a mistake, there is a certain protocol to follow: correct the dog as quickly as possible so he/she can learn.

A few weeks ago, I thought Carson had flubbed up on navigating a dining facility. We stopped, I corrected him and continued on. About five seconds after I corrected him with a punitive word and a quick pop of the leash, I realized I’d corrected him…and he hadn’t done anything wrong. I corrected him in the proper way, but for a crime I only –thought- he was guilty of. The wrong thing for the right reason (and don’t worry, Carson forgave me!)

We’re all going to be guilty of doing the wrong thing for the right reason….sometime. When this happens, we need to have a little more grace with ourselves. When, however, someone does the wrong thing for the wrong reason, THAT is the time when a closer eye should be affixed. Grace when it’s a mistake, change when it’s an intentional wrong. Easy as that.

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