By VIC LEMUEL CAJURAO
A science teacher once asked her class,
“If you were given the chance to invent anything, what would you create that would help the world?”
The whole class clamored with enthusiastic answers such as making artificial ozone layers, cloning animals, reconstructing coral reefs, filtering air pollution, and reversing the effects of mining.
After all the students were given the chance to say their own ideas, the teacher finally said
“You know what I would invent?”
The class listened in anticipation.
“I’d invent a PILL that makes anyone who takes it GOOD”
The world today is faced with an overwhelming list of problems spanning from poverty to racial discrimination, geo-political conflicts, and environmental degradation. Over the millennia, while there are significant efforts to resolve these conflicts, we can still temporarily admit that we haven’t reached anything yet with these endeavors. Poverty is still significant;people are still displaced by war; and there are still people oppressed by people in power.In light these continually worsening problems, we can’t help but ask questions. Where are we heading? What have we been doing? What have we not done yet? Is there really a solution?
The science teacher’s answer to her question suggests that initially, the reason why conflicts and problems exist is because there are BAD people. What/who are these BAD people?People who are selfish, hungry for power and recognition, attached to money and material wealth, or in short, people. Needless to say, apathy is the worst societal flaw that we humans have developed over the progress of economy and technology. While our material choices expand through timeless innovations, our care for others narrows to the people close to us, or worse, only to ourselves. We become BAD people. How do we become GOOD people? How do we make GOOD people?
Being GOOD takes three simple ingredients – Initiative, Integrity and Compassion.
Initiative. Remember when they say that change will only happen if we start it ourselves? Well it’s legit. This is Tadahiro Kanemasu of Japan. He dresses up as a superhero in a green power-ranger-like-suit while he helps strangers who utilize the Tokyo subway station. The station has dimly lit stairs and has no escalators or elevators, which makes it harder to access specially for elderly people and/or others with heavy luggage. The subway has played a major role in Japan’s continuously progressing economy especially to its citizens’ daily lives. Tadahiro said, “Japanese people find it hard to offer or accept help because they feel indebted to the person,”
Initiative is seeing and acknowledging the problem, and taking the chance to make or be a solution to it; something that most of us disregard as the world continues to progress in material endeavors.We know that people who are in dire need exist, but we refuse to acknowledge that we can be of help and fail to take action. The world badly needs people like Tadahiro Kanemasu.
Integrity. Most of us might think that stories about people returning lost money and/or valuable things are too main-stream and are overrated, and that people who get reported for such deeds desires recognition and payment in return. But we also have to acknowledge that it takes a whole lot of strength to resist the temptation of keeping the money and/or object to you, especially if you yourself are in need of it.
This is Bill Ray Harris, a Missouri homeless man who returned a diamond ring that was dropped in his cup while panhandling on a street in Kansas City. Bill noticed that a woman accidentally dropped a diamond engagement ring in his cup. While he thought of selling the ring he was able to fight the thought and hold onto it in case the woman comes back looking for it. Three days after, Sarah Darling came to him asking if he had the ring and he then retrieved it from the cup and put it in her finger.
Because of overwhelming gratitude for the homeless man, Sarah and her husband, Bill Krejci launched a fund raiser that hoped to raise $1,000. As the news spread through various social media, they were able to collect more than $190,000 helping Bill own a home and reunite with his family.
Reward aside, Bills’ action proved that holding on to integrity and not allowing the tempting greed take over his decision making results to acts of kindness that brings warmth to the heart and hope to the world that GOOD people exist.
Compassion. “Love and Compassion are necessities, not luxuries” – Dalai Lama.
This is a photo of a man who spent his first salary by sharing it with poor children in a local restaurant in India.
If we take a look at how the society works right now, it would disagree with the Dalai Lama has said in the quote above. Today, compassion is sold and bought. Today, one does not simply deserve compassion; we even often build up criteria of who deserves it.
This man, while unnamed, proved to us that not only is compassion deserved by everyone but it is also everyone’s capability. It is something that can be shared with open heart and without expectations for anything in return.
In the end, what these stories tell is simple – it doesn’t take a pill or a breakthrough for someone to be GOOD. Whether you are a homeless man, a middle class corporate employee, or a politician, whatever your status may be;it only takes a heart, and the willingness to help. The world is in need of more GOOD people, and there are other stories out there that prove that these people exist and encourage us to be a solution in our very own ways. Let’s make the world a better place, one good deed at a time.
Vic Lemuel Cajurao works for a financial data research firm, a war-Issues enthusiast, debater, fiction fan, and a peace advocate in small but significant ways.