The other day I wrote about the bus monitor and how awful those kids were for treating her in such a savage manner. Jersey McJones suggested that we bloggers should all take a day to write about the Golden Rule, or just the core values to being a decent human being in general. So let's make today core value day.
I always tell my kids this simple phrase: be good, do good. What does it take to be good? Well, in my mind it takes only two things to be good. Thing one is integrity, and thing two is compassion.
With integrity comes a true sense of self and moral boundaries that you are not willing to cross. Those of us with integrity have good moral character. We cannot have integrity without compassion. Compassion is that quality that makes us truly human. To be moved by the suffering of another human being is one of the deepest feelings we human beings can experience. As Virgil said in the Aeneid: Sunt rerum lacrimae, et mentem mortalia tangunt. "There is a compassion for suffering, and it touches the human mind."
If you are not compassionate, then you are no good. Those kids lack any semblance of compassion. Sure, they're acting repentant now, but it's because they're feeling shame and guilt, not compassion. They don't feel bad for degrading that woman. If no one ever found out about it, and if they weren't receiving threats from the righteously outraged people of America, those kids would go about their lives feeling as though they did nothing wrong.
Psychopaths are physically incapable of feeling compassion. Their brains simply do not register feelings of remorse, guilt, love, or compassion. Compassion is a learned thing, however, and if our kids aren't taught to be compassionate, then they likely won't be.
It's not enough to be good, because who cares if we're all just privately good people? We have to do good. We have to work to better the lives of others. We have to treat people with dignity and respect, because we know deep down that every human being deserves that treatment. How do we know this? Because we don't enjoy it when we're being treated poorly.
We're losing this notion in America today. American society is becoming more about doing whatever makes you feel good rather than actually considering the wellbeing of others. It's a draw back to our rugged individualism. Yes, individualism is great because it gives us the tools we need to be free-thinking humans, but taken to its extreme it isolates us from one another.
Kids today are being taught that morality is subjective. They're being led to believe that the timeless values that have served mankind for thousands of years are "antiquated" and have no bearing on people today. Words like justice, prudence, courage and fortitude are not being taught in schools today.
Kids need to be taught that life is not all about fulfilling all of your needs and instincts. We have to teach our kids that a good life is one spent in kindness and service to others.
Be good, do good.