“If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.” – Abraham Lincoln
This website and the challenge associated with it began with a response to something that was being passed around Facebook. You might have seen your friends post the story of Mr. Rogers and how his mother taught him to “look for the helpers” during scary or tragic times. Even though my first response was “Don’t just LOOK for helpers, BE a helper” it occurs to me today that the first step to being a helpers is to look around. If you are looking at folks expecting to find something good there, you surely will find it.
In the face of a huge tragedy like the one we are all struggling to understand, looking for the good can be nearly impossible. But as surely as life goes on for the rest of us, the life we have is worth living and worth living well. If finding the good in faces you meet today is hard for you, know that every effort you make is contributing to the good of the world, even if it is a small sum. And if you find that the conversations you are participating in or the stories you read are looking for and finding the bad in folks, then please turn them off.
Peace cannot be won by force. Peace can only come when we embrace life. Life cannot be found in flinging mud or laying blame or stereotyping. Peace begins when we lay down our arms (which for you and I most often are our word) and we simply embrace one another as fellow humans.
You will begin to hear more and more anger and vitriol associated with this topic. There are going to be more opinions than we can count about how to address this situation. I still believe that had this young man had a few more “helpers” in his life, there would be nothing to talk about right now. We don’t need the government to bar us from having arms as much as we need friends to step in and say, “whatcha planning to do with that?” We don’t need preachers screaming about how sinful he was as much as we need to demonstrate the power of forgiveness to melt the hardended angry heart. Yes, you have an opinion about what could have prevented this, but we all do.
The best way you can help now is to make sure you aren’t contributing to the next person losing it. That is why the challenge began with a call to give up sarcasm, snark, vitriol and sharp remarks in favor of kindness, consolation and sincerity. The ability to curb your tongue comes from the ability to stop yourself before you speak, to see in the recipient of your words a fellow human being just like yourself, and to find the good.
Look for the good. It is closer than you realize.
Update: Here is a link to an article with a video of one of the victim’s fathers speaking out. While the video does not show the comments, the article describes how late in the broadcast the father directly offered his prayers and condolences to the shooters family. He could easily allow his heart to be swalled by anger and hatred. But he chooses love and goodness. I hope we can all do the same.
Thank you for taking this challenge with us. If you would be so kind as to invite someone else along on your journey, together we can all begin to turn this place around.