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Letter to the Editor: Feed the good

— To the editor:

A Native American father taught his children about life with this legend: “A terrific fight is going on inside me between two wolves. One wolf is evil for he is fear, envy, anger, resentful, condemning, lazy, greedy, bullying, hateful, jealous, dishonest, prideful, selfish, self-centered, corruption and destruction.

“The other wolf is good for he is faith, joy, truth, love, hope, wisdom, understanding, friendship, sharing, mercy, forgiveness, peace, serenity, humbleness, kindness and compassion, positive and constructive.”

The same fight is going on inside you and inside each and every person alive.

The children asked: “Father, tell us which will win?” He replied: “Whichever one you feed.”

Dr. Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychiatry, was asked, “What human aspect makes civilization possible?” “Guilt,” he replied. Freud explained that the human conscience at birth is only embryonic in form. Like all else in infancy and youth, the conscience needs to be nourished, nurtured and educated to help guide persons to a life of moral decency and become contributing members to their families and community.

Who is responsible to help develop the conscience? Parents, naturally, have the first chance to nourish, nurture and teach the child right from wrong and common courtesies or “mores.” Parents are also responsible for their children’s safety and to help them learn how to be reasonably safe and secure in their world.

Schools and churches have opportunities to help expand adolescent concepts about choice-making. And, especially, those results can be more constructive when choices are based on positive attitudes, actions and behaviors. And, likewise, those impulsive choices made in anger usually produce painful, disappointing and costly consequences, especially in terms of wasted efforts, spent resources and damaged relationships.

Without adequate instruction, training, education and understanding, a person’s conscience is likely to fail to mature. Then, instead of being helpful, the conscience can become ineffectual and fail to signal the person with sorry-guilt feelings from abusing, bullying or injuring themselves and others.

It is a fact that our jails overflow. It is the truth that the world is littered with angry, desperate and dangerous people. The news and our history are full of conscienceless self-centered bully-tyrants with their dishonesty, corruption, crimes and wars.

Albert Einstein, the famous scientist, said this about it: “The destiny of civilization depends more than ever on moral forces it can develop … the goal is to raise the spiritual values of society.”

Jesus said: “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

Tom Lexow

The Dalles

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