blog.jonolan.net
The Last Temptation — Reflections From a Murky Pond
Motivation can matter as much as action in the longer run. Hence, a good act can be a great evil. Now is my way clear, now is the meaning plain: Temptation shall not come in this kind again. The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason. -- T.S. Eliot Murder in the Cathedral Never in my experience has this moral and societal fact been more poignantly exemplified than by the recently reported actions of a 10 year-old girl from Thornton, CO, Tatum Gonzales. She did a deed that was ever so right, but did so for reasons that were so very wrong. Tatum Gonzales called the whole family together on her 10th birthday but not for the reason you might think. “Make a change to the world,” she said as she stood in her mom’s Thornton kitchen, making a turkey and cheese sandwich. Tatum’s only wish on her 10th birthday was to help feed the homeless. “I don’t think it’s right that all of us get to eat and they don’t,” she said. “They might be starving so I just thought of this idea for my birthday.” Family and friends filled the kitchen, put on plastic gloves and pitched in to make 100 sack lunches. They even decorated each of the bags. I cannot see young Ms. Gonzales act as anything other than a beautiful act of kindness and charity. There's no doubt in my mind that she did the right thing. And yet, her own words, "I don’t think it’s right that all of us get to eat and they don’t," show that she did it for the wrong - indeed, one of the worst - reasons imaginable.