Something I enjoy doing is spending time thinking about why some people are “good,” some “not so good,” and others are “bad.”
As I see it, a good person doesn’t kick someone when they’re down or beat up someone they love or don’t even know. A good person doesn’t spit in your face because the two of you disagree. A good person doesn’t boast that killing families is a means to an end.
Good and bad people are not determined by wealth. Good people can be rich and use their means to help family and friends while helping others at the same time. This is being kind, not weak. This is sharing and not giving a hand out. This is caring for more than yourself and strengthening a community.
Why some wealthy folks who could be considered “good people” choose not to share some of their worth will always be a mystery to me. They might believe that what’s theirs is theirs and they have no duty or obligation to share with the community. They might think they earned what they have and others should make their own way. The thought might cross their minds that they are better than others because of who they are; they wouldn’t have what they have if they didn’t deserve it. I question whether those who think this way can be called good people.
Good people want everyone to have a good education because they understand that knowledge is the path to improving society, a society that works for everyone and not just some. Good people support the best public education possible by being involved in their local schools. They will ensure teachers are paid a salary equal to the task of educating future generations and work with them, not against them.
Good people look at the big picture and not just what they see in front of them. They understand the need for job-training programs and mental health facilities even though they might never have a need for either.
Good people understand why they need to speak the truth and not let lies perpetuate themselves. They don’t simply hear and follow those who shout the loudest because it sounds right.
Good people are grounded in reality and not perception. They listen to the ideas and views of others and don’t dismiss them because they are of a different race, color, creed or political affiliation. Just because a journalist wrote about an issue or a political pundit gave an opinion doesn’t make it real or accurate. Good people check their sources.
Good people volunteer their time and belong to organizations because they believe in the actions of the organization, not just the group’s mission statement or motto. They don’t seek titles to have their name or picture on a wall. They give their time, energy and dollars to promote the good an organization was formed to do. They identify and correct problems within an organization, not hide them. No organization is flawless, even if the group believes that to be true. Improvement is always possible.
Every human being needs improvement. Every human being is a work in progress. Every human being needs to work at being a good person. To deny that is to say everyone is perfect, and we all know that isn’t even close to true.
To suggest one individual or one particular way of life has all the answers is not reality. To believe we are able to succeed and have reached financial success on our own is untrue.
To be a good person has diverse meanings for each individual. Why we see some people as good, not so good or just downright bad has to do with who we are as human beings and all that has gone into making us unique. Understanding that uniqueness and opening our minds and hearts to those we meet, know and hear is the first step to becoming a good person.
Good people don’t create obstacles. They open up paths for others to follow.
Rose Ann Miele is a journalist and was public information officer for Boulder City for nine years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at