There are a lot of good people in the world. Today, I've seen a lot of people on facebook and other social media sites scorning the Stanford Rapist, with everyone trying to remind everyone else how to become a good person.
Maybe people are angry. Maybe they're tired of hearing about the bad people in the world. Maybe they're wanting to find something they can look towards as a compass and good example–something, anything–to show society hasn't gone completely to hell in a pretty basket.
There are bad people in the world, but I think it's so very easy to forget about the good people in the world, too.
We're so busy looking for the evils in the world that we often don't appreciate those around us–those who try to do good. It's so easy to get caught up in the relentless negativity of our society.
This is particularly true during elections when people don't care about each other, so focused on their side being right, on their particular interests. It's important to people, and that brings out the worst in us all.
Stop and take a moment to really think. We are a society where we color things in the extremes. We showcase the complete filth of our society–the Stanford Rapist, for example. (And yes, I know his name. I don't really feel like humanizing the filth of our society, so I won't.)
But here's the thing: we so often overlook the little good people do. We expect heroism. We expect over the top good. We expect showcase examples of what it is to be human.
As an author, I enjoy writing about good people who have to do big things. Some of those characters want to hide in the background. Others are at the front lines. But, I try to make the lead characters genuinely good people. Some of them do bad things–and often.
But at the end of the day, they are usually good people with happy endings. They lead heroic lives matching what we hope to find in our world. Sometimes the road to get to their happy ending is long and treacherous, but they're there. Sometimes it is as bitter as it is sweet, but there are happy endings to be found.
This, too, plays into the basic human desire to find good in the world. I write about it instead of seeking it out in our real world–I write about it, because we're taught that the only good we should acknowledge is the one that is done by the rich, the famous, or those who do truly heroic things.
Stop. Take a look around you. There is a lot of good to be found. Did someone slow their car so you could merge? That happens often. That's a little bit of good in the world. (Plus safe driving.) Did someone hold a door for you?
Did you hold a door for someone?
Did you smile at someone who looked like they're having a bad day?
Sometimes, a smile can be the highlight of someone's day. To us, that smile is insignificant. After all, we're just moving our lips, right? But no, to someone who is having a bad day, to someone too shy and afraid to connect with others, that smile can be a treasure.
Stop looking for the ‘big' good in the world and notice all the little ones. They're out there, and they're far more numerous than most people believe.
You don't have to be Mother Theresa to do good in the world. You don't have to live big to live well. You don't have to be an example for the whole world. People too often look at celebrities to be their shining stars in the darkness.
So many are upset when a celebrity does something bad and the illusion of wealth making people good is shattered. So many are upset when justice isn't served when someone does something truly horrific.
Instead of looking for a light in the darkness, be the light in the darkness.
You don't need a Captain America when you can be that superhero to someone else. I think we all forget that we have the capability of being that hero to someone. You don't need magic to be a Wonder Woman.
You need a heart. That's it.
Right now, society is staggering in the aftermath of the Stanford Rapist case, aware of the ‘rape culture' of America. Many feel hopeless. Those who have been raped, assaulted, and abused see the dark pit of despair opening.
The Stanford Rapist walked. Justice wasn't served, not to the young woman who will carry scars we can't see for the rest of her life. But, there is an opportunity here, if you are willing to take it.
Unless you've been raped or assaulted, it's very difficult to understand what it is like to have someone hold so much power over you. Many women in our society have been raped or assaulted. If you put twenty women together in one room and ask how many have been raped or assaulted, it's not going to be just one or two hands raised.
It may be four, five, six… or more.
Women are taught to be shamed if they have been ‘tainted' by a rape. Men are taught to be shamed–or worse, that they are entitled to a woman's body.
This is rape culture.
We try to hide the dark truth and look to celebrities to give us an example of what is good–and then we use them as examples of what is bad when they fall.
Instead of celebrities, look at yourself. Your family. Your friends.
Change begins at the home, with you.
Instead of being afraid of the discussion of sex with your children, embrace it. Teach your sons and daughters rape is wrong. Teach them how to be good people. Morality isn't found in the church.
It isn't found in a steeple. It isn't found in the government.
It's found at home, and it starts with you.
There will always be bad people in the world, but there are so many good people, too. For that stranger you held a door for, bought a coffee for when they were sad, dinner for when they are hungry, you are the hope in their world. For that person you saw on a bench and sat down next to, and offered your ear without judgment, you are their shining light.
There are good people in the world. Instead of looking for the Emma Watsons of the world, take a long look in the mirror.
Be that good person you're looking for. Then you're the example you want to set. You don't have to be wealthy, popular, or outgoing to be a good person. Be one, and take the time out of your busy life and notice the world around you and all the little things people do to be good to each other–things people do without expecting praise, reward, or acknowledgment.
If you can't find the good people in the world, be that person. It's not hard. Open a door. Offer someone a smile. Buy a homeless person a lunch and listen to their story.
You don't need to move mountains to make a difference.