Three Boys
Off the Wall, June 19,

There were three boys who lived in Millhouse, Rhode Island. Will, Coody and Nauty were cousins, raised by three sets of parents in what could be described as a middle-class neighborhood. It really didn’t matter where each one lived exactly. More so, I believe, they were raised by caring partners who saw to it that they were clean, neatly dressed and went to church every week.

Now, to some people, it would only make sense that these three young adults would have similar dispositions. But for some reason, that didn’t seem to be the case. Were their actions caused by immature attitudes or simply reflections impressed upon them by their elders?

Take Will, for instance. Well-liked, he would be first to come to anyone’s aid regardless of the situations at hand. If he saw that Aunt Martha has dropped her napkin from her wheelchair onto the floor, he would be ‘Johnny on the spot’ to hasten over and pick it up and place it on her lap or state, “Aunty, you dropped your napkin and I picked it up. What would you like me to do with it?”

Coody, working nearby, saw the napkin fall as well, but procrastinated whether or not he should step forward. Looking in the other direction, he decided against committing the act.

Nauty, of course, has always had a negative attitude. “Nah…why should I go out of my way for her? She never helped me do anything” may be his utterance.

Seems strange, you know, to have all three young men raised by wonderful people to have such different attitudes.

A matter of fact there lays such a contrast between the two lads, Will and Nauty, that it is hard to imagine what actually are the underlying thought patterns behind such attitudes.

Let’s start with Will. He is one of three children in his family. He was a healthy baby, had a higher IQ than the other children, and excelled in his school work. Ever since he was a baby, he was ambitious, wanting to do more than the other two kids.

While in high school, he arrived a little earlier at his home rooms so that he could sit in one particular seat closest to the teacher’s desk. When the instructor had a question, he was first to raise his hand exclaiming, “I know… I know…I know…” And one could count on his desire to contribute, whatever the case may be.

Coody, on the other hand, was the middle child of three boys. No one divulged that he was a dumb little boy, just lazy many more times than his parents wished. He would often state when asked to do something, “I guess I could, but I don’t feel like it. Why not let Jody do it.” And the crazy thing is, his parents always gave in. This young man often did some of his homework, not all. It’s not that he didn’t have ability, just discipline. If his people had cracked down on him from the get-go, he may have been more like his playmate.

And talk about laziness, this has Nauty’s name written all over it. Here is a guy who refused to do anything, talks any way he sees fit, is rough when playing, and shows no respect to anyone.

What in the blazes would ever cause a person to act that way? Not being a psychologist, I can only surmise that certain things happened in his upbringing to form his attitudes. Maybe he was an ‘accidental’ baby, not wanted, but thankfully, not aborted. His parents never gave him respect, and he would grow up pretty much on his own, feeling the hard knocks and throwing them back at his mud slingers. How painful this youth’s childhood must have been, in all probability, never feeling any type of love. Instead there would always be an air of rejection.

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone would be like Will? It’s possible, you know.

How many times does one say to him or herself after seeing a circumstance or situation, “You know, I could have stepped forward and helped that person out?” Or even worse, “I’m going to be a Nauty (‘not’y) person and ignore the whole incident.” There are people nowadays who refuse to get involved, need I say.

What we need in this world are more people who are ‘Will-minded.’ Putting others first should be one’s goal.

- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.