Father Sez

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Our undrawn personal boundaries

Wednesday March 18th, 2009 by fathersez

We all have our own boundaries. Not the physical ones, but the mental ones. Boundaries that we don’t cross unless pressed to under really extenuating circumstances.  

I was reminded about this lately when I read the story of how one guy found some old pictures (taken more than 30 years ago) of his then girlfriend and sold them to the media. The pictures were taken when the girl was a teenager and showed her in lingerie and semi nude. Unlike the guy, the girl had risen up in life and was now a politician. Hence the pictures became so called “news worthy”.

And this brings me to the point of my story. 

I’ll never ever have considered doing this. (not that I have any such photos, anyway). No matter how down and out I was, putting another person into such an embarrassing position purely for monetary gain for me would be well outside my personal boundaries. And honestly speaking, I also think that the media house that bought these pics also had very porous boundaries.  

We must all have seen movies about people who swear to certain principles and lines that they would not cross, whilst the hero looks at them with a cynical look. At the end of movie, there would be a scene where these boundaries are crossed. One such movie was Rambo 4. A Christian missionary, who was part of a team illegally crossing into Myanmar to help some of the refugees, berated our John Rambo for killing some pirates, claiming that nothing justified the taking of human life. By the end of the movie, he had killed someone.  

But our life is not a movie.  

Our boundaries are defined by our upbringing, our education, our religious inclinations, our morals and conscience. Some boundaries are tighter and others may be a little more porous.  

Then there was a time when a colleague asked me to join him in a “side deal”. He was holding a very senior post in a subsidiary, whilst I was holding a senior position in the holding company. The deal was for both of us to work out a cut on purchases done by the subsidiary. And I must admit that it would have been quite lucrative. My friend’s logic was that the prices would be at the company’s budgeted levels, so any savings should not be missed. I turned him down. 

Let me assure you that I am no angel. Like my friend Jaya pointed out, all of us have a dark side. I also do. So I am not being judgemental at all by writing this article. It is just that I do have some boundaries that I won’t cross. 

The present difficult times can result in many of our boundaries being tested. There was a recent story in the local papers about a young mother caught stealing milk powder for her baby. And shoplifting was the only way she knew how to get milk to feed her baby. 

I am sure my children have already formed some boundaries. Some of these may change over time, and I hope that their boundaries will not veer far from the lines I have drawn for my life.   

And I pray that neither I nor any other member of my family will be tested like how the young mother was tested.


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