Good Sometimes, Bad SometimesJune 7, 2020
"Sometimes people are good,
And they do just what they should.
But the very same people who are good sometimes
Are the very same people who are bad sometimes."
- Mister Rogers, singing "Sometimes People are Good"
It's terribly tempting to classify people into buckets.
Over here, that's a good child. Over there? That's a bad child.
This employee? Well-behaved. That employee? Oh, they're a troublemaker.
This cop? They're one of the good ones. That cop? The worst.
The trouble with labeling people (instead of actions) as good or bad is that:
It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: where we expect good, we see good. Where we expect bad, we see bad.
It leads us to see ourselves this way too: either all-good or all-bad.
All this judgment distracts us from seeing clearly and responding constructively.
The truth is, we are both. Every single person does good things sometimes, and bad things sometimes.
Do some people do more good than others? Of course.
But if you'd like to do more good, and help others do more good, it might help to recognize that we are all capable of it.