A Tale: Doing the Right Thing

Thanks to John Esposito for allowing me to share the following incident and story to promote self-discipline.


Our school has a 25% population of Native American students. I had a 4th grade student in the office for a discipline issue. I work hard to be as noncoercive as possible according to your approach. After discussing the incident and getting to the point of doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, I decided to relate the story of Two Wolves. Someone gave it to me and I do not know its origin. It goes like this:

An elder Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance. It uses self pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

“The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness. It practices benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, faith, and compassion.

“This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”

They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

To me, the message is one of positivity. Like begets like.

The student listened carefully. Then I asked, “What do you think he meant when he said the wolf that wins is the one you feed?”

She had a little trouble articulating it but definitely got the idea that the wolf who wins does the right thing.

She wrote a very sincere apology to the person she wronged. She drew a picture for her, too. Then she gave a sincere verbal apology. The wronged student clearly appreciated and accepted the apology, smiling and saying, “Thanks,” twice.

I asked the first girl how she thought the other girl felt. She immediately said, “Happy.” Then I asked, “How do you feel?” She said, “Happy.” I said, “You should be proud of yourself.” I left her smiling, too.


My Comment: Doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do feels good.