The other night I was at a meeting of an association for which I serve as the board secretary. Included in the business we had to tend to was the issue of how to deal with the fact that there are a few people who are not in compliance with some of the policies and rules of the association. One of the younger (30's) board members repeatedly responded with this statement: "We need to take the path of least resistance.". He would then expound on what he said by saying he believed the rules and policies were there to guide people, but that those who didn't comply should not be held accountable to the full extent--to settle for whatever they were willing to do and call it good.
I could not agree with that philosophy, and thankfully, neither could most of the other members of the board. Why bother having policies and rules if they are not followed? If everyone isn't expected to abide by them, then why should anyone be expected to? By the time the meeting was over, the path of least resistance was not the one taken. But that wasn't the end of it for me.
I haven't been able to stop thinking about it and how sad it is that so many people these days are willing to settle for that. I also can't stop thinking how grateful I am for those that didn't, because if not for those who would not settle for such a path...
My great-great-great-great grandfather, along with countless others wouldn't have fought to make this country independent of Great Britain. It would have been much less trouble to just follow the commands of King George.
The United States would be a very small country, because I can assure you the path of least resistance was the last phrase Lewis and Clark would have used to describe their journey to explore the Louisiana Purchase.
The Nuremberg Laws/Code would have gone unchallenged, Hitler would have gotten his way, and instead of 'just' six million Jews and several million others who tried to protect them, being murdered, that number would have been several million more.
My grandparents would not have been among the 400,000 '+' families in America whose loved one didn't come home after WWII.
Helen Keller's parents would have listened to the 'professionals' who said their blind, deaf, and mute daughter, Helen, would never amount to anything--that she would be better off dead.
Gary Stevens' parents wouldn't have worked diligently in the 1940s to create an environment where their severely handicapped son could be challenged to learn and work to the best of his ability. The opportunities that resulted earned Gary the honors of appearing before two different presidents and several governors on behalf of legislation and laws that provide for disabled people to live productive lives.
Several young people I know would have allowed themselves to stay stuck in the cycle of abuse, addiction, entitlement, and anger instead of choosing to be better and to realize they are capable of doing and being more than that.
Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jackie Robinson wouldn't have found the courage and strength to say they are people who deserve to be treated the same as anyone else. Not worse. Not better. The same.
Parents would be even less apt to discipline their children than many are these days. If you are a parent, you know discipline is met with resistance most of the time. We know that it really is for their own good and that if we don't....
I could keep going, but I am pretty sure you get the point. The path of least resistance may be the easiest path to take, and it may make you more popular with some, but it is rarely the right path to take. And I am not ashamed nor embarrassed to say that all we have to do is read or listen to the news to see just how true that is. So, please, don't just automatically take the path of least resistance because it is easier and less controversial. Take the path that leads you toward doing what is right, because doing the right thing is always the right thing to do.