See the good in the world | Tom Murphy

As I was driving through Anacortes on Sunday morning, I noticed a sign on a building. I think this building, which is really a house, is a combination radio station-limousine service, as there is always a white stretch limo parked outside and there is always a sign advertising KLXS radio, or something like that.

Today, I noticed another sign on the building. It read: "See The Good in The World."

See the good in the world. It wasn't a question, "Did you see the good in the world?" It wasn't a response to a question, "I saw the good in the world." It wasn't ambiguous, "See the good in the world, if you can." It wasn't cynical, "See what good in the world?" It wasn't searching, "Is there good in the world to see?"

It was a straight forward command for us to choose to "See the good in the world."

How interesting, I thought. How interesting. On the drive back to our home in Auburn, I wondered what changes I would have made, or would make, if I remembered to choose to follow that simple command each and every time I engage in a relationship, an interaction, a confrontation with another human being. See the good, not the bad. See the positive, not the negative. See the upside, not the downside. See the potential, not the limitations. See the small victories, not the small defeats. Look for goodness, especially when it is very hard to do so.

That is our big challenge, as teachers and humans. Seeing the bad in someone is very easy. Searching for the good takes hard work and dedication, especially with so many students and adults conditioned to believe that uncovering their goodness is a sign of weakness, or compliance, or submission.

We know the displays of indifference, sullenness, disinterest and distance are but affectations created by all of us at sometime in our lives due to our fear of rejection, due to someone not searching hard enough to find our basic goodness. We hide our goodness in fear that it is not good enough.

We know on the first day of kindergarten, all children come to us with wonder and innocence etched in the creases of their smiles. We know the essential goodness of our own humanity is revealed in the eyes of each child. We see it sparkle. We bask in its brightly shining glow. We see it bubble out with enthusiasm for everything seen and touched. We encourage our children to erupt in giggles with the joy of learning, joy born on the shoulders of the basic goodness of each human being, a goodness captured in the bodies of all these multi-hued little people. They smile, we smile.

What must we do together to sustain and nourish and cherish what we know and see in kindergarten?

See the good in the world. It is really within our power to choose, you know...

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