What is the right thing? Is there a right thing? What does it feel like when you do the right thing? What does it feel like when you don’t? These were just some of the questions that came up when we explored the topic of ‘doing the right thing’ as our final prompt in last week’s session.
We began by writing ‘doing the right thing’ as a title on a sheet of paper, and then added a word or phrase of our own in response. These were then passed around the circle, with each writer adding their own thoughts in addition to reading those that had already been gathered.
We then each wrote a short story, using the lists as inspiration, which somehow explored this theme, whatever direction the writer wanted to take it in. There were a wonderful array of angles and styles in the stories we shared, reading aloud when we’d all finished. Here is my own response, written in ten minutes (no editing):
A red faced, wet faced, screaming, resisting child follows a tired , overwhelmed adult because the adult’s hand is bigger, their arm stronger, and the child is following by force.
“She hit Thomas again.” The woman deposits the five year old in front of the monk with obvious relief and satisfaction, as the room continues to resound with wailing. She leaves and closes the door on the monk and the child.
“Did you hit Thomas?”
The voice is kind and curious. The wailing stops for a moment to allow an emphatic shake of the head.
“Did Thomas hit you?”
The wailing stops again, and a deep thinking breath can be heard. The quiet allows the monk to gently wipe the tears from the girl’s cheeks and the silence settles and waits for an answer.
The monk has wiped away the child’s tears, and it seems perhaps he has absorbed them, for now silent sadness falls from his eyes. The child looks up. The monk smiles, which squeezes out more tears.
“Why is it so hard to do the right thing? I know you’re trying. I see you trying.”
The child listens and watches intently. The monk puts his hand on the child’s shoulder.
“Are you happy here little one?”
She nods her head.
“Shall I walk you to your classroom?”
Again she nods, and he takes her hand, making his body a little lopsided to the left, so’s not to stretch her tiny arm too much. And someone small, and someone tall open the door to try again.
This was actually inspired by a scene from a beautiful documentary I saw recently, called Tashi and The Monk. Really worth a watch if you have 40 minutes. Find out more here:
So what are your thoughts on doing the right thing?
If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here: