The Story Behind Nana’s Rule #6 – Do the Right Thing

It is hard to believe, but one year ago (June 20, 2013) I wrote my first Nana’s Rules post—Leroy Jethro Gibbs and Nana’s Rules. I had no idea at the time that the rules would take on a “life of their own” complete with stories and a set of magnets I created which would make my rules something that Lauren and Sean would not only “hear” about but would also be “tangible” as in they could read and hold them in their hands. I have truly loved creating and writing about Nana’s Rules.

But I have also realized that there were “unanticipated ramifications” to creating and publicly sharing these rules with others …. one being “accountability”.

Several months ago, I had made a commitment to attend an after work social event. The afternoon of the event, I started getting some “cold feet” and wasn’t sure that I really wanted to go. I started playing those mind games in my head…. Justifying all the reasons that it would be ok for me not to go at the last minute….. they would not miss me….. there were going to be a lot of other people there ………… I was stressed and needed some time for myself………. and bla bla bla bla.   However, I made one small tactical error in my rationalization process.

My “error” was I shared these thoughts with the Gentleman Caller with Smiling Eyes (GCSE/October 2013).  You need to know that over this past year, he has patiently listened to my ramblings about Nana’s Rules and what I want them to represent.

So, on this occasion, he listened to my venting about all the reasons why it would be ok for me not to go to this social event. He was quiet for a bit and then the conversation went something like this:

GCSE: I can understand your reasons for not wanting to go. And you certainly could miss this.  But, I wonder…………. If Lauren was talking to you about not going to this event, what would Nana tell Lauren to do? How would Nana tell Lauren to handle this?

ME: (inner groan to myself)

GCSE: I think Nana would tell Lauren to do the right thing….. Nana would tell Lauren that you always know inside of you what the right thing to do is.

ME: (more inner groans… and sighs….. and inwardly wishing that the GCSE had not paid such close attention to the thoughts that I have shared with him over this last year)

GCSE: You know, I think “Do the Right Thing” would make a good Nana’s Rule. Then when Lauren is trying to decide what course of action to take or how to handle something, Nana can say “Remember Nana’s Rule #….  Do the Right Thing.”

Truth is…. I did know the right thing to do. My inner voice had been telling me to honor my commitment and to attend the event. The mind games I was playing were simply rationalizations …excuses I was making to justify doing the wrong thing and a way to drown out that small still voice that kept telling me what I should really do. (I will confess that I did attend the event and I had a wonderful time.)

I know in my heart and my head that when you hear that little voice—whether you call it your conscience, your spiritual guidance system, intuition, the Holy Spirit, God—whatever name you give it—the truth of the matter is that small voice is an important part of us and you should pay attention to it. But we become masters at drowning it out.

Yet the real trick, once we hear that voice, is to follow through and to do what it says….to do the right thing.

So, soon thereafter, Nana’s Rule #6 – Do the Right Thing – was added to my list. It is both a simple yet complex rule—one that will affect all areas of Lauren’s and Sean’s lives—whether it be their studies—their relationships—work ethic—so forth. Those 4 little words carry a very large message. And when I share Rule #6 with them, I will also stress the importance of listening for that small still voice speaking to them and once they hear it, to pay attention and trust the advice given.

So, here’s a toast to the one year anniversary of Nana’s Rules — to my grandchildren who have inspired me to create them …to the stories behind them…..and last but not least, to the GCSE who has played a role in encouraging me to (as they say) “put my money where my mouth is” and has inspired me to not only write the rules but to truly live them.

I can only hope that I am up to the challenge.