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Right and Wrong and Being Strong
A Kid's Guide
By Lisa O. Engelhardt, R. W. Alley
Abbey PressCopyright © 2001 Lisa O. Engelhardt
All rights reserved.
Right and Wrong, Win and Lose
If you have ever watched a game show, you already know something about "right" and "wrong." The player who answers wrong loses the game. The player who answers right wins.
"Right" and "wrong" in life is a little bit like that. When you do a wrong thing, somebody loses—you or someone else. When you do the right thing, everybody wins.
If you grab the joystick away from your brother, he loses his spot at the computer. You lose something, too— the chance to be fair and kind. But what if you take turns or play a game together? Then you both win!
Here's another way to look at it. What if everybody in the whole world did this thing? For example, what if everybody in every restaurant in the world shot paper wads out of their straws. Would the world be better or worse?
Telling Right From Wrong
Probably the simplest way to tell right from wrong is to ask yourself: Will this hurt someone, maybe even myself? Will it hurt someone's feelings or things? If so, then it's the wrong thing to do.
If a girl kicks you on the school bus, it's wrong to kick her back, because it would hurt her. (You know this, because it hurt when she kicked you!)
What if you tore her notebook to get back at her? Wrong—because you would hurt something that belongs to her.
What if you said, "I don't like being kicked—please don't do it anymore"? Right! This helps to stop the problem without hurting anyone or anything.
Obeying the Rules
You have rules in your home and classroom to help you to know what's right and wrong. If you disobey those rules, there will be some kind of penalty, like a time-out or an early bedtime.
But what if you do something wrong and don't get caught? Let's say you eat some junk food right before dinnertime—and nobody sees you. Does that make it okay?
No. Just because you "get away" with something does not mean it's right. You have still hurt somebody. In this case, you have hurt yourself, by spoiling your appetite.
We want to do the right thing because we don't want to hurt anyone. We want to treat others the way we would like to be treated.
The holy writings of every faith talk about how to be a good and loving person. They tell us to help others, be kind, share, and forgive.
They also tell us that God loves every single one of us. God wants us to love each other. If we hurt someone else, or ourselves, we hurt God. When we do something wrong, it's like turning our back on God.
You may have seen cartoons where someone is trying to make a decision. A little angel stands on one shoulder, telling the person to do the right thing. A little devil stands on the other shoulder, telling the person to do the wrong thing.
That doesn't happen in real life, of course. But your "conscience" is a little bit like that angel. Your conscience is a feeling inside of you that helps you to do the right thing.
When you do something wrong, it might "bother" your conscience. You may feel guilty or ashamed, and wish you hadn't done it.
Excerpted from Right and Wrong and Being Strong by Lisa O. Engelhardt, R. W. Alley. Copyright © 2001 Lisa O. Engelhardt. Excerpted by permission of Abbey Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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