• Malynda Hale

Where Have All the Good People Gone?

I apologized to my daughter the other day. She didn’t understand, of course. I apologized to her because I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt for bringing her into a world filled with so much hate, division and uncertainty.

Then I thanked her. I thanked her for being the joy I need right now, for being the light in such a dark, dark time.

I look at her often and think, “How do I make sure she becomes a good person?” It’s a lot of pressure, being solely responsible for making sure you raise an upstanding member of society.

I’m not a perfect person by any means, but I think my parents did a pretty good job raising me. That being said, I’m human. I mess up. I fail. I’ve hurt people. I’ve said the wrong thing. Done the wrong thing. Made big mistakes. Regretted past decisions. I’m blunt. I can be condescending. I hate stupid questions and I let people know when they’re getting on my nerves. And while I know and believe in the power of forgiveness, there are definitely people in my life I haven’t been able to extend that grace to yet.

That doesn’t stop me from trying. I try to meet people where they are. I try to be kind. I try to give back. I try to love others. I try to listen. I work hard. I try to accept people’s stories. I try to allow people happiness even when I don’t understand the things that make them happy. I try my best to be a good person.

But current times have made me wonder whether I’m doing the right things. What does it even mean to be a good person?

Every morning I wake up worried about what I’ll read or see or be subjected to, and it saddens me. It saddens me how much hurt I see from friends and family and how much hate I see being thrown about as easily as if you were just saying hello. It worries me that no one is striving to be a good person anymore. And people even seem to have a fundamental disagreement about what it means to be a good person nowadays.

And that’s what makes no sense to me.

Choosing to be a good person shouldn’t have difficult criteria or come with conditions.

When did caring for others become a polarizing issue?

When did loving your neighbor become political?

Why does uplifting someone else mean that you’re being brought down?

Why does someone else loving someone affect how you love?

Why does stating someone else matters somehow mean that you don’t?

Why has it become so hard to simply want the best for others?

Being a good person shouldn’t take effort. Being a good person shouldn’t have “sides”. But for some reason, collective egos crowd out our own humanity, and those egos have become more important than the actual desire to have basic decency.

We are in a time of unrest and it’s growing increasingly difficult for people to respect one another. Marginalized groups in this country have been met with vitriol when they’ve simply asked for equality. They have had their experiences discredited, their feelings ignored and their wants and needs pushed aside. Why is it so much to ask people to care about their struggles and hardships? To care about them as humans?

Why is it so much to ask for people to simply be good?

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