By Dorothy Knight Burchett
I was a pre-adolescent when Walt Disney ran the TV series about Davy Crockett on Sunday afternoons. It was the highlight of my week. I would sit on the couch and watch the clock until the hands showed 2:00 and the program came on the screen.
I really liked Davy Crockett and all that he stood for. I liked his ruggedness and fierce determination. I liked his intelligence and the way he handled disputes. I wanted to be like him. Mom bought me a Davy Crockett t-shirt and a coonskin cap. She bought me a Little Golden Book that told the story of his life. I believe that was also the year that I got a pair of moccasins for Christmas.
One of the incidents Mr. Disney related about Davy was that he served in the United States Congress for a while. I will always remember a few words of wisdom that he was alleged to have spoken: “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead.”
Apparently, the words of wisdom were meant to inspire people to BE RIGHT and don’t be wishy washy once you are sure you are right. Like most such adages, a wealth of information is contained in just a few words. And, since it’s just a few words, it’s much easier to remember than, say, the Gettysburg Address. Point in fact, I remembered—for, lo, this many years. And, I do try to be sure I’m right. And, I am never wishy washy. I have no problem with the going ahead part.
The only problem is—how can you be sure you’re sure? There are many times when I thought I was sure and, found out later that, sure enough, I wasn’t sure. Some of the things I was sure about weren’t important, but some of them were. I sometimes wonder how many people I have led astray by telling someone I was sure about something when I wasn’t sure at all. I wonder if someone was hurt or injured because I went ahead when I wasn’t sure I was sure.
Now I don’t have any position of power or authority and I try to be a nice person, but I can’t be sure that I always am.
What about people who are in positions of power and authority? Do they strive to be sure they’re sure? Do they investigate all of the options before they go ahead? Or before they tell others to go ahead? Do they lead people astray, or cause them to be hurt because they were sure when they weren’t?
People have a lot of ideas and viewpoints and everybody thinks they are right. How can we all be sure when we’re all different? Where do we find the guidelines that make us sure? It sure would be a shame, though, if we fought about everything we were sure about.
On the other hand, there are some things that have to be done, whether we’re sure we’re right, or not. I guess those would be the big things, like:
Am I sure this will spread more love in the world?
Am I sure my plan won’t cause someone to get hurt?
Am I sure the world I live in will be a better place because of what I do?
Maybe that’s what Davy Crockett meant when he came up with that slogan. I sure hope so.