I grew up with my grandparents. The benefit of belonging to an extended family is that you can hardly fail to derive the benefits of your elders’ wisdom.
My grandmother was a simple but wise woman. Even though she was not highly religious, she made it her duty to instruct us on the importance of moral values. Her basic concern was that we should know what was right from what was wrong.
In those days when you went to nursery school, you wrote on a tablet made of slate. When you finished writing, most students would use their spit to erase their work and start on the next lesson.
One day, one of my brothers was being provoked by another boy. In his anger, he knocked the boy’s slate out of his hands and it broke. A complaint was made to my grandmother. My brother tried to justify his actions by claiming that it was the other boy who started the problem.
My grandmother would have none of it. She admonished my brother by telling him that two wrongs do not make a right and that he would have to be responsible for a new slate for the boy. But she also told the boy’s parents that he should be punished for provoking my brother.
My grandma was fond of reminding us that straight is the gate and narrow is the way. She constantly instructed us to stay along the straight and narrow path.
She was quite fond of drilling into our heads the dangers of assuming that morality is relative. One of her favourite sayings was “Right is right and wrong is wrong.” She urged us to always stay on the “straight and narrow path,” to be honest and conscientious in all that we did.
It is because she coached us in these moral values that today all of her grandchildren can boast that none of us have ever been arrested, accused of dishonesty or ever being dismissed or reprimanded for any fraud.
We did not have to go and learn about Kant and Nietzsche and all those other philosophers to determine how we should act in any situation. We simply followed the diktat of our grandmother who taught us that “right is right and wrong is wrong”.
When we were kids and we were playing children’s games, she would overlook us to ensure that if we lost, we accept that we lost and did not cheat or claim that we won when we had not. Her adage was simply “If you win you win, if you lose you lose!”
Those values we applied to our daily lives. If we lost fairly and squarely, we did not try to claim victory and maliciously accuse the winner of cheating. We accepted our defeat with our heads held high because we knew that it was better to lose than to claim a dishonourable victory.
The most powerful of morals was contained in grandma’s simple statement that “right is right and wrong is wrong.” There is no in-between, no grey area between right and wrong. Something is either right or it is wrong. Plain and simple!
The world’s main religions teach the same truth. The Holy Bible says “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin (James 4:17).” The Bible admonishes us that it is a sin to know the right thing and not do it. The Holy Quran says that, “man is a telling witness unto himself”. In other words, man is a reflection of his morality. Hindu scriptures teach that to act in accordance with the Divine Will is right and to not act in accordance with this Will is wrong.
It is good to kneel before the Creator but it is better to act in accordance with the wishes of the Creator. All the kneeling in the world will not ensure morality unless that submission is matched by one’s actions.
With each passing day, we are straying beyond the straight and narrow path. We are losing our sense of right and wrong. This is responsible for all the problems, which we are now facing.
If only we could apply that simple test of grandma: right is right and wrong is wrong. But instead, we are being tempted by moral relativism: right is only right if it is in our interests.
The elections in Guyana present not just a political challenge. It is also a moral challenge, one which requires that people act in accordance with right and wrong. Those who have lost the elections have a moral duty to concede their defeat and not to concoct false narratives. Those who have won, have an obligation to be magnanimous.
The elections may not have ended how we many would have liked but right is right and wrong is wrong. It is wrong to deprive the rightful winner of his victory. None of us would like to be in the position where our victory is being snatched away by rank dishonesty.
It is wrong to try to subvert a process in order to win. It is dishonest to say one has won when you know that you have lost.
The outcome of the elections represents a moral test. Will righteousness prevail or will dishonesty triumph?
Jul 13, 2020SOUTHAMPTON, England, CMC – Mercurial Jermaine Blackwood perished agonisingly short of a deserved hundred but West Indies took a giant leap towards their first series win on English soil in 32...
By Sir Ronald Sanders Governments around the world, including in Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, have emerged as... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]