It’s almost impossible to find a responsible adult who is happy with the moral state of the world. And it’s even harder if you are attentive to the daily news. In addition to the reports of natural disasters and spreading disease, reports of the shortcomings of prominent people whose behavior attracts the media is distressing
As Lily Tomlin said, “No matter how cynical I get, I can’t keep up.”
Our economy has been shattered by widespread corporate fraud; kids lie, steal, and cheat at unprecedented rates; and their parents beat up each other or referees at youth sports events or supply alcohol to fuel organized hazing. Our confidence in the integrity of journalistic institutions, the accounting profession, stockbrokers, college sports, organized religion, and business in general is continually shaken by a relentless barrage of shameful behavior.
It’s tempting to throw up our hands in despair and surrender to cynicism.
It reminds me of the tale of the pious young man whose car broke down on his way to his place of worship. He had to walk through an area where homeless people huddled against buildings for warmth, alcoholics and mentally ill adults wandered the streets, and crack dealers sold drugs to kids. He was overcome with a sense of despondency and doubt about the power and intentions of God.
“God,” he prayed, “how can you allow all this pain and misery and do nothing?” Receiving no answer, he became frustrated and raised his voice, “Lord, my faith is at issue! How can you allow all this suffering and do nothing?”
Then someone behind him whispered, “He didn’t do nothing. He made you.”
What a profound insight and daunting responsibility it is to realize that you are the instrument of reform, that your courage, compassion, and creativity in your own sphere of influence can set into motion a ripple effect of healing actions and attitudes to make a better world.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.