Do good and throw it in the sea

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By 2017-12-17

By Priyangwada Perera

Ruwan's mother came to the living room. She could see Ruwan watching television. Though his eyes were set on the television set, he seemed to be lost in thought. Even when an advertisement came up, Ruwan did not stir. He did not reach for the remote control or show any interest in changing channels. Ruwan's mother observed this from afar. Surely, the boy seems to be lost in a different world.

"Ruwan, the programme seems to be very interesting," mother said, seeing very well that the boy was lost in thought. His mother's voice brought him back to earth. "Well, I was not paying attention to the programme," he said. His mother knew the son was troubled over something. Ruwan was not easily distracted. He switched off the television and turned to his mother. For her son to put aside his favourite programme, it had to be something important.

"You know, Amma, I have been thinking hard. That new boy who joined in the middle of the term, Shehan, whom I helped a lot is not even talking to me now." Ruwan's face looked grim. Ruwan's mother remembered how Ruwan used to come and talk about the new boy. Shehan was finding it hard to fit into the new class. Ruwan went all out to make friends with Shehan and help him grow in confidence. "What has happened now? I thought you were the best of friends," mother wanted Ruwan to share his story with her.

"Yes, we were best friends. He settled down fine and started working hard. Remember, how I gave all my notes for him to copy down. He kept my Environmental Studies book with him for an entire week," Ruwan went on. "Amma, I told him to try out for the basketball team because he told me he had played in his previous school. He went and got chosen. It was a piece of cake for him. I was so happy. But then, he changed. He found new friends, popular older boys in the school team and a new circle of friends. I feel left out, Amma." Ruwan's mother saw that he was upset and she put her hand around the boy's shoulder. "Putha, that's alright. You had good friends before Shehan came. You helped him to make the most of his talent. Entering a new school is very hard and you made it easy for him. You have been a true friend."

"But, can someone ignore a true friend. You are helped a lot by someone and you let go of that person. What's more you easily and conveniently forget his kindness. Is that the right thing to do?" Ruwan had a lot to ask. "No, putha. That is not the right thing to do. But people do such things all the time. I tell you to 'do good and throw it in the sea'," said his mother.

"What? Do good and throw it in the sea? What on earth does that mean? How do I do that?" Ruwan was puzzled. "It means, once you do something good, you forget about it. You don't keep count of it and think 'oh, I helped my friend a lot, he should be grateful to me.' 'It was I who directed him first and that break was what made him successful.' When we do something good, when we help someone, what matters is that we did it with a good heart. That is where our joy should be, in the act of doing the good deed. The other person's response to it is not for us to worry about. We cannot control it either," Ruwan's mother said. She went further by saying "If we are to keep track and brag about every little thing we have done for others, that will erase the beauty of our deed. Then our intentions are questioned. That is why we say 'do good and throw it in the sea'. That means to 'forget it' or 'never talk about it again.' When something is thrown to the sea, we don't expect to see anything of it again." That made Ruwan ask her, "Oh I understand. I should not feel bad about my friend's response because I have done the right thing. If I have done the right thing, I should not go on and on about it, right?"

"Yes. The good you do will come back to you in other ways," mother hugged him yet again.

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