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Consider Asking,

"Sow What?" Instead of "So What?"

by JMS Florida

A member of the ADA(American with Disabilities Act) mentioned to me in passing that there’s been a steady flow of residents seeking membership into the ADA recently.  He knowingly shared that this phenomenon invariably occurs each time the group has a banquet approaching. (The implication being that some residents may be feigning interest in the DAD in order to fill their bellies rather than any altruistic motive.)

This “phenomenon”, I suspect, is not unique to the ADA group.  I imagine it occurs whenever any group on the compound has an event scheduled and there’s food or some goodies involved.

So what?

Well, there’s a question of ethics involved there and that’s what I’d like to invite everyone to think about.

In his book, “The  Habits of highly Effective People”, author Stephen R. Covey compares two distinct approaches in the manner in which people meet their needs and wants.  The first approach, “The Personality Ethic”, is one where a person focuses on developing appealing personality traits to get what they want.  This approach, the author claims, is short sighted and lacks substance.  A person might be able to get by on the surface of things, but will eventually flounder having failed to develop solid interpersonal relationships.

In comparison, what the author refers to as “The Character Ethic” promises lasting fulfillment, and true solutions, to most of the human relations problems that plague society.  That’s because a person will have a firmly established character stemming from morally sound, socially accepted, principles.

Mr. Covey illustrates the quick fix Personality Ethic by asking us to imagine a farmer standing in his field come fall, befuddled there aren’t any crops to harvest, knowing all the while, he didn’t plant anything in the spring!  That would be ridiculous, right?  Yet how many of us stand around (literally), and imagine we’ll lose weight though we haven’t altered our eating habits, or begun an exercise regimen? Better yet, (excuse yourself from this category if it doesn’t apply to you), how many of us believe we’re going to receive favorable news regarding our release, despite continuing to engage in the same type of behaviors that ultimately led to our being committed?

The point is, gentlemen, if we continually act out the part of the imaginary farmer, expecting a harvest though we’ve failed to sow and see, then we’re likely to go hungry more times than not.  We should perhaps instead, consider asking ourselves, “Sow what?” instead of, “So what?”  This means we should contemplate digging deep within ourselves and consider the long-term benefits of putting forth the required initial effort that will ensure our survival in the future.  I suspect, that if we pay an appropriate amount of attention towards developing a genuine sense of ethics, based on quality character traits, and we give mindful attention to the “seeds we sow”, our future survival will be secure.  Both physically, and socially.  And, I’d speculate that if we get our hands dirty and do the work, we’ll have ample opportunities to fill our bellies come harvest time. Or in this case—come banquet time.

Prisoner Letters

Latest Issue: 92