Sunday, August 31, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Justin Brown has returned home from Iraq after 8 long months.His wife, Dayna, was very happy to see him.
Monday, August 18, 2008
- Be proactive. It's tempting to infer that as long as you avoid doing the things you know are bad (stealing, badmouthing, lying, etc.) then that means you're a good person, but there's more to it than that. By avoiding bad behavior, you've made a big step towards becoming a good person, but you've only just begun. In order to be good, you actually have to do good things rather than just avoid doing bad things.
- Consider the results. Have you ever heard the saying that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"? It's not enough to want to do good, and to try to do good--you must also think about whether your actions actually had good results. Not every attempt to do good will end with good results, so when things don't work out, be willing to reconsider your actions and change them accordingly. Never let your sense of duty, loyalty, or obligation get in the way of doing what's right.
- Think about the greater good. What might seem like a good decision in your situation might not have a very good impact on a broader scale. People often do right things for the wrong reasons, and wrong things for the right reasons.
- Define what "good" means to you. Ultimately, you have to decide on your own code of ethics, and what matters is that you follow through with what you believe makes you a good person. At times, this may conflict with what others believe is good, and they might even accuse you of being wrong or evil. Consider their views - either they know something you don't, in which case you may learn something from them and "update" your morality, or perhaps their experience is limited, meaning that you should take their views with a grain of salt.
- Be balanced. In the struggle to be good, it's easy to swing from one extreme to another. However, any form of extremism can lead to closed-mindedness, a quality that can be found behind what most people can agree are bad deeds. In Buddhism, there's a term for avoiding extremism: "the Middle Way". Whenever you find yourself leaning towards an extreme, try to find the Middle Way before you act. This isn't going to be easy, but if being good was easy, wouldn't every good-hearted person be good? Here are some dilemmas you may encounter:
- It's good to be humble and kind, but is it not good to be so humble and kind that you let people walk all over you, to the extent that it damages your physical and emotional health, or lessens your ability to care for, spend time with, and provide for your family?
- It's good to be responsible (pay your bills on time, plan for retirement, save up for your kids to go to college) but is it good to be this way to the point that you hoard away hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets and wealth for your own family's financial security without ever giving someone else (who isn't fortunate enough to be born into your family) a helping hand?
- It's good to be positive, but is it good to be so positive that you ignore risks and brush mistakes under the rug, never learning from bad decisions because you're always "positive" that it'll work out the next time around?
- It's good to be honest, but is it good to be so honest that you hurt people's feelings unnecessarily, violate someone's privacy or prevent someone from finding answers that they might need to find for themselves?
- Give people the benefit of the doubt. To the extent that it doesn't jeopardize your safety (like getting in the car with a group of people you just met), assume each person you meet is a good person, and act likewise. If you see someone do something that you consider to be bad, consider what they are dealing with in the context of their own life--don't jump to conclusions. Try to discover what motivated their bad act, and if appropriate, show them how it was hurtful by using nonviolent communication. Many times, helping someone else become a good person in a gentle, open-minded and unimposing way can help you learn and become a better person yourself.
- Be good for its own sake. Don't try to be a good person because your parents told you to, because you want recognition or respect, or for any kind of reward except your own satisfaction in doing what you believe is good. Never act superior to anyone else or brag about your "goodness" or "righteousness". Your dedication to a particular creed, ideology, or set of guidelines does not make you better than anyone else. Do what you believe makes you a good person on your own terms, and remember that it's an individual journey--everyone's path is unique. Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.
- Believe in the power of your actions to influence others. When other people see you doing good deeds, they will be reminded to take more positive action themselves.
- Don't push your assistance on people who don't want it. If someone is telling you they don't want your help, just apologize if you presumed, and bow out gracefully.
- Don't be so nice and constantly helpful that people take advantage of you. Part of being a good person is helping others become better people. Doing everything for someone who is capable of taking care of him or herself is not helpful to either of you.
- Be very careful what you say to people. It can be incredibly affecting to say something thoughtless off the top of your head. A rash judgement. A poorly observed conclusion can resonate forever in someone's life. Particularly children and others with little or no defenses.
- Being good doesn't mean you let people push you around. Being assertive and being mean are two different things use your better judgment to tell the difference.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008