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moral choice? does it matter why we did it? or just the fact we did it?

This is a true story.

I went to walmart. My daughter wanted a clearance toy that was marked $2.00. I allowed her to get it, but when we got to the register it didn't ring up, therefore, the checker entered the price but it only rang up $0.20.

I informed the cashier, he told me I had to go to customer service. I didn't want to wait in line. I figured I brought it to his attention I did my part. However, the entire time I was thinking he might get in trouble so I need to have it corrected. I waited, the price was corrected and I left.

On the way home I started to think is it enough to want to do the right thing for whatever reason? Does why you do the right thing matter? Or is the important part the fact that you do the right thing?

Not so much in correcting an over or under price, but in being honest.

Answer Question

Asked by Kattykitten at 7:50 PM on Jan. 22, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 2 (7 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • I think motivation IS important. If not, you enter into the realm of self-righteousness and it isn't a pretty place to be.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:53 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • The important part is looking yourself in the mirror every night before you go to sleep.

    I think it IS important to DO the right thing ... (remember the saying "The road to hell is paved with good INTENTIONS" ! )

    And WHY you do it is important, too ... as in, if you do the right thing only because you are forced to and NOT because you are fulfilling your own conscience, then that is going to weaken your character ...

    Answer by waldorfmom at 7:54 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • I think doing the right thing is more important than the reasons behind why we do it. Let's face it there are people out there who will only do the right thing because they are seeking a reward or attempting to avoid the known consequence of their action if they act otherwise etc. They aren't doing it simply because it is the right thing to do but because they have their own motives. If they have prior knowledge that by doing the right thing they weren't somehow serving their own self interest they wouldn't do it.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 7:58 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • I do the right thing because that's the kind of person I want to be. I feel guilty if I do the "wrong" thing. That's not to say that I ALWAYS do the right thing, but I make an effort. I have an an infant son and I'm very concerned on how I will go about teaching him to feel the same way,to do the right thing because he feels good about doing so, not necessarily because he has to due to possible consequences. There's a big difference.I commend you for doing the right thing as well, when the majority of people would have probably been happy that they got away with paying only $.20. My mom somehow instilled in me a very strong conscience, and I'm so grateful for that. I remember once when I was little asking her, after I gave the $5 in my wallet to a homeless man, "Mommy, what if that guy isn't really hungry, and just wanted to take our money?", and she told "God will know that you did a good thing regardless, and he'll be proud"

    Answer by StefanieN84 at 8:01 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • If your daughter was standing there watching what you'd do, yes, you definitely did the right thing. We teach our children through our actions more than anything else.

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 8:02 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • I think we can do the right thing for the wrong reasons. I also think we can do the wrong thing for the right reasons. Sometimes what seems like the most evil act is actually a salvation. Imagine if someone had killed Hitler as a child. We would have been horrified to hear of the murder of a child, but we would have avoided a lot more human suffering and injustice.

    Inversely, sometimes the best actions have selfish, evil or hard-hearted motivations, and can end up causing more harm than good, even if your intention is pure. If you wait hand and foot on a man who is badly injured, he will thank you and be grateful for your help in avoiding pain, but he will never walk again.

    This is why morality is such a grey area :p It would seem so mean to him to stop bringing that man his food, but the end result would be something good.

    Answer by Ati_13 at 8:02 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • People have to live with themselves, many people don't do the "right" thing and maybe that works for them, I think what goes around comes around, karma, I guess.

    Answer by writeon at 8:09 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • A Starbucks clerk thanked me for being honest. I love Vanilla Chai Tea Latte and she rang it up just as a chai and forgot to add the vanilla syrup price and I pointed it out before I paid. I prefer to be honest. It does pay to have good morals.

    Answer by Shaneagle777 at 8:19 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • Is the "why" part important? I would say yes. There is a why for everything. Its your consious. Its your reason for doing the right thing and honesty feels good. Walk the walk, talk the talk.

    Answer by 3gigglemonsters at 8:56 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

  • If YOU don't do what is right, who is going to? Few people as it is do what is right.. and you are the one that has to live with what you did. If we always ignored what was right, this world would be even crazier than it already is, lol.

    Bottom line, you did the right thing :).. that is what counts. You are one of the few still honest people, and you should be PROUD to have such a great characteristic.

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 9:25 PM on Jan. 22, 2010

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