There’s a great deal of value in doing what is right simply for that – because it’s right. I’m lucky enough to teach at a school in which my students, for the most part, do the right thing. Maybe that’s because it’s a single-sex environment, maybe that’s because it’s a parochial environment, or maybe that’s because most people, when push comes to shove, understand the difference between right and wrong. I have to believe that most people, when faced with something bad, will try to do good.
However, I also know that that’s not always the case. I understand that doing the right thing sometimes means putting oneself or one’s family in danger, and I don’t advocate for that. For example, during the Holocaust, the people who rescued the most Jews (hid them, made fake passports, smuggled them across borders, etc.) were young, single men. Why? No families. No dependents. Fewer worries.
I do not blame those who don’t speak out for fear of very well repercussions. I do blame those who actively try to make others miserable in any situation.
But again, I have to hope that there’s more good in this world than bad. There’s an excellent BuzzFeed article (linked below) from January 2012 that I read, cried over, laughed at, and bookmarked. I look at it every now and then. I cry. I laugh. In a world filled with conflict, hate, poverty, and fear, it’s nice to remember that there’s also hope and love and compassion.