It is easy enough to get started – usually step one is intending to do the right thing. After that, however, it seems to get complicated. One intends to – hopes to – make the right choices day-to-day so that one can make a positive difference for others and live up to one’s own ideals – be one’s best self. But, each day is filled with a seemingly endless number of choices about what to do and how to do it. In the end, there is no sure or easy path to getting “right” right.

One’s own values offer guidance. Further, humankind’s shared philosophical and theological heritage across time and culture provides a remarkably rich guide for one’s own moral reasoning. But, those guides still require that we do, indeed, reason – on a regular basis. They require that we each think anew and with care as we impact the lives of others and, in turn, collectively define our shared world. The world is, after all, what those living today make it by their choices and actions – a staggering cumulative effect made one person, one choice, at a time.

Day to day, each person we each encounter is a distinctive dynamic of personal history, concepts, imagination and feelings. That distinctive other interacts with our own history, context (our personal reality) and roles we each play in professional, personal, and civic life. What constitutes the right choice in each instance in our personal, civic, and professional lives is as unique as the combined dynamic of self and other in a given moment and context. Getting “right” right may start with appreciation and openness to such singular moments and the need to reason afresh in that light. But, it is so very easy to be misguided by our own assumptions and the limits of our own reality so that it is hard to really see what options and possibilities stand in front of us in any given moment (be that the picture on the front of this card or the individual and opportunities that fill our days), unless we are indeed open – ready to ask and to learn – to learn to see from other perspectives.

Humankind seems to sometimes make getting “right” right even more difficult by losing sight of the fact that moral reasoning is ongoing and engaged in singular moments. Uncertainty about what is the right thing to do can become an unsettling notion. It can see be much easier to believe that right is a clear and certain thing and that anyone who doesn’t agree with our version of right is …well, wrong.