I first heard the phrase “harder right, easier wrong” from a young, idealistic military officer. Quite frankly, he did not fit the image I had of today’s soldiers. He was nothing like the soldiers my father referred to when he lamented the way officers carried the military uniform. He said that during his time, those in service always looked spiffy and that he disliked being in uniform as it had to be crisp and clean and as an officer, he had to take his car or a cab since commuting was not allowed.
I belong to that generation that witnessed the abuse of some of these men in uniform. As in any organization, one does not expect everyone to be the same, even if they espoused the same beliefs. A few years ago, I met some officers who were real gentlemen—and some who were not. This is where I learned what the “harder right” meant.
In many situations, doing the right thing requires more effort. Shortcuts, “instant,” fast track—whatever we call it—is not always the right way, hence the “easier wrong.”
Of course, the context in which the young officer used the phrase may not be the same as I would like to use it as a parent. My children are all grown up and as I look back, indeed, the “harder right” choices we made paid off. All of them—even my boys—know how to wash their own clothes and cook. It was difficult at first to allow them to explore the kitchen, cook meals or bake desserts and risk having them burn themselves, make mistakes and trash everything. But that is part of the learning process.
I am also glad their school taught them critical thinking—even if I sometimes have to defend my choices because they have great arguments for junking them! I realize that if I had taken the easier route—allowing them to order pizza or burgers or perhaps taking them out for meals I could not cook or simply doing all the chores for them—they probably would still be dependent on help, mine or the kasambahay’s.
These days, the phrase has become significant, even meaningful—as I listen to candidates’ radio and television ads. Some badmouth their opponents or tell sob stories, others simply enumerate plans and promises. And I remember that young officer’s statement once more and how he endured the imperfections of the organization he belonged to. Perhaps, the ones most worthy of our support—and our votes—are those who know and will choose the “harder right” and not the “easier wrong.”
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.