Shortly after leaving the house with my son one day on the way to whatever they call the dental guy who does root canals, we passed two men pushing a car off the road toward the entrance to a store parking lot—a car that had obviously gotten to that unfortunate state of not working.
As we got closer, my son asked, “Should we stop and help?”
My response was “We have an appointment to get to.”
It was an honest response, and any suspicion about the sincerity of my sense of obligation to be on time to an appointment that was to serve up pain, and to an office that was likely to keep me waiting upon arrival anyway, is misplaced.
Having been raised in the military, I have always had to my children’s shame, a keen sense of duty to be on time.
But should this necessarily take priority over helping others?
On the way home from the root canal in that groggy state that comes from the combination of shock and hydrocodone, I turned to my son and expressed appreciation for the immediate impulse he had shown to stop and help.
Do you have that immediate impulse to stop and help, or do seeming obligations, temporary inconveniences, cheap rationalizations, or even worse, disregard for the plight of others cause you to keep going past those in need?
Try deciding ahead of time, so that when the homeless man asks, or the stray dog crosses the highway, you have already worked out what you would do.