Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 8, Q2
Justice: “Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.”
- Always struggle with this one;
- Be true to others;
- Don’t make excuses or avoid helping because it’ll make your life easier.
I’m furious at my father. After promising to sit down and record a belated Father’s Day interview for the Dadventures Podcast, he called me up an hour before the interview and abruptly canceled. What really sent me through the roof was his refusal (or inability) to give me a reason – the lack of explanation was infuriating. Right now I am doing my best to “wrong none by doing injuries,” because all I really want to do is send a hurtful email, or rage at him over the phone.
Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I assume he didn’t understand what a podcast is – I once asked him about a DVR player and he responded, “I’ve got a DVR player, it’s downstairs with some old, blank tapes.” Maybe once he understood that I was asking him to publicly share fatherly insight, he did not want to expose himself; he is very old-school in that way. Alternatively, maybe he did not want to talk to me, his son, about being a dad; also old-school.
Regardless, my boiling blood wanted to do tell him off. Instead, I’m sitting here ruminating the definition of Justice; and partially annoyed while doing it – mainly because this reflective moment is denying me my desire for revenge. Harsh words, I know, but that’s what I’m thinking, and I want to be honest, because I also want to be brutally honest with my dad – I’m disappointed.
I’m profoundly disappointed and want to channel that disappointment into an email explaining why I am hurt and angry, but craft that email in a way that leaves him hurt, angry and sad. “Wrong none by doing injuries,” unfortunately, that is what I want to do; cause injury – so I can’t send any email. I’m disappointed, but shouldn’t hurt my dad in return.
Am I omitting benefits that are my duty as a son? A son should not hope to hurt his dad, but what else? Should I have patience with someone with a different outlook? Offer an explanation of what I’m hoping to accomplish? Dammit, I’m talking myself out of what I want to do – I guess that’s the point though. Will save it for later.
Some of the above sounds pretty terrible, but it’s what I wrote when I was angry and trying to think through the situation. I came back a few days later glad I took a moment to calm down and reflect. At its core, I was looking to cause injury – to my father no less – because I had been injured; that would have been unjust. What I’m most glad about is I never sent any email. The reasons behind his cancellation revealed itself a few days later and helped make sense of the situation. It’s something I’d like to talk about next week with Moderation.