“Not only is there often a right and wrong, but what goes around does come around, Karma exists, chickens do come home to roost, and as my mother, Phyllis, liked to say, “There is always a day of reckoning.” The good among the great understand that every choice we make adds to the strength or weakness of our spirits—ourselves, or to use an old fashioned word for the same idea, our souls. That is every human’s life work: to construct an identity bit by bit, to walk a path step by step, to live a life that is worthy of something higher, lighter, more fulfilling, and maybe even everlasting.”
― Donald Van de Mark, The Good Among the Great: 19 Traits of the Most Admirable, Creative, and Joyous People
I’ve thought a lot about what makes people good and what makes people bad. It seems so often that people will sell themselves short for temporary gain. We hear about people lying or stealing or hurting others for their own personal advances; without regrets or concern. So I have thought about what makes these people this way. I was talking to some friends last night and I was talking about my children and how proud they make me EVERY SINGLE DAY! There is not a day that goes by that I don’t find my mind wandering when they are telling me a story; I am completely mesmerized by the good that they have inside of them. They are GOOD people. They are KIND people. I always believed that because I was raised by a bedridden mother, who suffered a debilitating disease, that my heart was softened and my outlook on life and the fairness to others was because of the empathy that I learned at a very young age. Being raised in a family like this makes you learn how to be a FAMILY. You have to coordinate who will assist your mother during the day and at nights. You have to help them shower and eat and even go tot the bathroom. And all the while you have to be a teenager and have a ‘normal’ life. So I spent many many many hours sitting in bed with my mother and talking about life. About tv shows. About hair and nails and boyfriends. And you learn how to care for people and show them that you love them. I always knew that my good-will was learned from this exact upbringing. But what about MY kids? They didn’t have to grow up in this type of home. In fact, quite the opposite, I am strong and energetic and can leap tall buildings in a single bound (eye roll). These children of mine wear their heart on their sleeves. They care about others with so much emotion that it could bring tears to your eyes. They share stories of helping strangers. They bring flowers to the cemetery. They see yellow butterflies and know that their grandmother is with them. They are reflective and genuine. They are not liars or cheats. My friend Tameria said that my kids are good people because I put my time in. Those countless trips to the parks and museums and libraries and books we read and camping adventures and family trips; they are all pieces of the puzzle that makes a person who they are. I remember thinking when I was little that our family was to ‘family-ish’. Everything we did was done together and every move made was as a group. We watched my brother’s bmx races AS A FAMILY; we had dinners AS A FAMILY; we rarely had ‘outsiders’ in our excursions. I can now say that I am so happy that I was raised that way. I learned what is important in life. This is what my kids are learning, as well. When we talk about where the boys will go to college, we all make the plans on where will live in the next year and a half. We navigate as a group, a pack, a tribe…my tribe. Someone once said that if you mess up raising your child to be a good person then you messed up the most important job you have. Dr. Phil called it when he said “how do you fail to raise good people ON YOUR WATCH”…I like that!...”on your watch”. Well I often look around me and see all these people that were slacked on someone’s watch. I can honestly say that I am appalled by the way that some people view the world as if it owes them something; as though they can manipulate the world around them for their own personal gain, regardless of whether it is right or wrong. I am convinced that if you are good and do good, then good things come your way. The law of Karma. Karma is simply the law of cause and effect. If you plant an apple seed, you don’t a get a mango tree. If we practice hatred or greed, it becomes our way and the world responds accordingly. If we practice awareness or loving-kindness, it becomes our way and the world responds accordingly. So in summary, good people breed good people. Loving people breed loving people. When you meet a bad person, simply flip the card over and look at their parents and the people that are in their lives… apples don’t fall far from the trees….and the cycles continue generation after generation after generation. At least, if you shake my apple trees, you will see the fruits of my labor and all my hard work in raising my four kids will be obvious to whomever they meet…. Ding ding ding four more good people in the world!!!!! You’re welcome!