I have had a hard time writing this post. I am don't think I am articulating what I want to say. Please comment.
One of the things I have been struggling with as a dad is to ensure my kids have a good perspective on life in general. I see so much damaging stuff in the world, and while I would love to insulate my kids from that, I know I can’t.
I want goodness for my kids. I want my kids to choose good things over bad. I want my kids to be good kids. I don’t mean things like don’t be criminals, even though I hope that is an end result. What I mean is much subtler then that. I mean avoid things that are damaging to your self, or other people. Avoid humor in mean things. Don’t find humor in bad things.
Things should make you happy. Not just giddy on the surface, but at a core. Things you see and do should add to your general well being. Stuff you see, do, and choose should add to your happiness.
How many times do we see things that are meant to be humorous but are really insulting? How many times do we find humor in others misfortune? Does this contribute to your deep down core happiness?
I work with someone is has the knack for finding the worst in something. She always has a off-putting wisecrack or negative comment around whatever announcement, project or whatever is going on. There is always a comment of how awful a project is, or how no one but her knows the reality of a situation. It gets tiring.
Why not talk of the good things in a project, or let whatever hassles and troubles slide away?
When I was in college, I sold buttons for some extra spending money. Most of the buttons I sold were political, cool pictures, or famous people. I had one that said “Study Naked.” I was showing off my buttons to a woman who was a Quaker and peace activist. I had a lot of respect for Peg. She was not only a talker, but also a doer. She went to El Salvador to walk with people who were in political danger – to essentially be a human shield at a time when people disappeared with no trace. When Peg saw the button, she told me “that is not a good thing, you shouldn’t sell it.”
This made an impression on me.
My mother had made similar comments during my growing up. When I came home with a new record album or t-shirt with a smart alec comment, She would ask me “is it good?” It took me a long time to figure out what she was asking. Not, is it cool, not is it high quality, not is it fun, but does it have a goodness about it. The opposite of is it crude, mean, or insulting. Is it peaceful, loving, generous, kind? I am also not talking about the warm and fuzzy feelings, this is just to trite. I mean the deep down contented happiness.