I started writing this post early last week. Then I got a stomach bug and spent the day in bed. The next day I moved my grandmother from a nursing home in Norwalk (about 90 minutes from where I live) to one much closer to me. I was distracted by other things, and then…it was Friday afternoon.
I thought more and more about the subject of this post and whether or not it was appropriate and/or relevant.
I came across a story that may or may not be true, but I want to share it anyway. The story goes that there’s an African tribe that has a unique way of handling those who do something hurtful or wrong. When a member of the tribe does wrong, they take him to the center of town, and the entire tribe comes and surrounds him. Then they tell him every good thing he has ever done.
Apparently this tribe believes that every human being comes into the world as GOOD, each of us desiring safety, love, peace, happiness. But sometimes in the pursuit of those things, people make mistakes. The community sees these misdeeds as a cry for help. So they band together for the sake of their fellow man, to hold him up, to reconnect him with his true nature, to remind him of who he really is, until he fully remembers the truth from which he’d temporarily been disconnected: “I AM GOOD.”
My original intention with this post was simply to remind myself and my readers that we are, indeed, good.
I also wanted to ponder, “what if?”
What if, when our friends or family hurt us, instead of lashing back, we instead reminded them (and ourselves) of all the good things they’ve done?
What if, when our children acted up and broke a household rule, instead of (or maybe in addition to) a “punishment,” we reminded them of all the ways in which they are good?
What if, when someone broke the law in a minor way, instead of (or maybe in addition to) giving them a ticket, we reminded them that they are good?
Might we catch them sooner, when their offenses are relatively minor, and there’s still plenty of goodness left?
I know…I know. I have been told many times that these kind of thoughts are too simple, too child-like, too naive, too rose-colored-glasses. These ideas can’t touch the complex reality of guns and violence and mental illness and those who are too far gone.