So, I'm sitting here trying to decide whether I'm a believer in the inherent goodness of people or whether I think we are, as a society, heading to hell in a handbasket. I just can't figure it out. Here's the evidence (in no particular order):
* A kid who tends to treat his family rather poorly gives a beautiful, meaningful, yet age-appropriate speech clearly in his own words in which he says heartwarming things about his mother and brings people to tears with words spoken about the importance of his step-father in their lives.
* A young kid of about 10 years old finishes his snack in a public park and casually tosses the plate over his shoulder into the bushes. No one in his family moves to pick it up or instructs him not to litter, despite the fact that they all saw it happen.
* Girls going to a morning religious service dressed as if they were heading to a nightclub.
* Motorists driving down crowded highways as if they were the only ones, careless of the danger they are putting other people in.
* Friendly volunteers at a nature center who actually ran around the facility to gather up visitors and guide them to the viewing window to show them first the beautiful and entertaining blue grosbeak and then, a few minutes later, the wild turkey.
* People who value things and fashion and appearances more than relationships, appropriate behavior and future financial security.
* People who are sour and depressing and negative despite multiple blessings in their lives.
* A sweet little baby is sleeping safe and sound in her new home right now while her new parents are overwhelmed with the joy of finally having a daughter to call their own. Against all odds and previous experiences, the baby's birthmother made the series of choices that created this family. Amazing.
* A recent conversation with a teen in which they were able to easily rattle off a list of drug dealers, drug users, child abusers and various other deadbeats in their community.
* People unable to partake in the joy of the life around them at a given moment.
* People in dire circumstances who make few attempts to improve their situation, preferring instead to perpetuate the excuses of why they "can't" change their lives. No one expects instant change, but continuing to dig your hole deeper should never be an option.
* There is no excuse for not looking for employment when you are young, single, childless and able-bodied.
* There are some people who, despite all reasons not to, continue to look at life as something precious and wonderful and full of potential. Part of me admires this line of thought. Part of me wants to shout, "Aren't you paying attention!!!!!".
* People who think that they get a vote on other people's decisions. What's up with that? I've heard at least three totally different stories in the past few days about people thinking that it was appropriate for them to tell someone else what they were doing wrong. Seriously, people -- live and let live! Get over yourselves!
I know none of this makes sense, but I've just been getting so frustrated lately. It seems like almost everyone has totally given up on trying to be good people, trying to make the world a better place, trying to get along with others and be responsible for themselves. Maybe I'm noticing all this because the end is nigh or maybe it's just because I've been trying so hard lately to live a good life and "do the right thing". Am I just overreacting and being unnecesarily hard on others? Even the mom yelling at her kid in public and saying very hurtful words in a sarcastic voice must also hug the child and whisper lovingly how proud she is of them. Right? Just because I see someone at their worst doesn't automatically mean that there isn't a better side?
I sometimes wonder how drastically the world would be improved if everyone decided to try just a bit harder to be a better citizen of the planet and member of our human society. What if, even just for a day, we all stopped littering, spoke gently to each other, smiled, gave others the right of way and benefit of the doubt. What if we paid our bills, worked to our best ability, treated people with respect, obeyed the laws of the road, and gave a dollar to a charity. Can you imagine? Such small steps - such big changes!