June 29, 2012

The Good in People


My daughter is a hugger, much like I was at that age.  Apparently, my parents had worried about me for my penchant for sitting on strangers’ laps.  I had no filter nor no caution.  So, like me, my daughter loves the attention and just loves people.  My son too, but he’s more cautious.

We’ve been visiting a lot of relatives lately and they’ve been visiting us.  So my daughter and son have been around a lot of cousins.  They’ve just been having a blast.  Some are cousins they’ve known all their lives and some they’re just meeting, but they invariably look forward to meeting them and they miss them long after their gone.  They haven’t seen their cousins Luke and Pa’eta (pronounced “Bod”) from southern Montana for something like three years, but they still ask, “When are Luke and Pa’eta visiting? I miss them.”

And I am continually amazed at the good will of kids.  Sure, sometimes they are selfish and want everything for themselves, but it feels honest, in a strange way.  But more often, they’re generous and kind.  Their cousins Jade and Julia from Oregon are visiting, and my daughter saved the donuts I bought for her after her dentist’s appointment to give to them.  My son quit playing his video game, which he loves, so that his cousins could play.

It really restores my faith in human nature.  I’ve always been an optimist, and as a kid I fervently believed in the good in human nature.  Sure, people did bad things but only because they were forced to.  Then growing up shook this belief.  When I began to think that people might be bad, I wondered what was the point of life, then?  If it was true that people were essentially evil, then why not cap myself and get it over with? 

But now I’ve arrived at the belief that people are essentially self-interested, and it is the job of civilization and our institutions such as governments, religions, and families to urge us to be better people.  And it is our responsibility to try to overcome our baser urges. 

But when I see my son and my daughter being such good people, I’m taken back to a time when I believed, you know?  A more innocent time.  My own personal Garden of Eden.

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