Growing up, my brother and I were always taught to “be good”. This seemed rational to my way of thinking. It made life easier on my mother, it got me in less trouble, and it earned respect from adults.
It wasn’t until I started attending school, however, that “being good” took on a whole new meaning. Being “good” somehow became associated with being a snob or being too good for other people to hang around with.
I soon became labeled as the “goodie two shoes” who never used bad language, never wore inappropriate clothing, and had to “ask mommy for permission”.
It created quite a dilemma in my young brain. Wasn’t I supposed to be good? Weren’t these kids taught to be good as well?
In time, I gained a few friends. They would later confess that they always thought me a snob, until they realized I was just a little shy and didn’t do things like everyone else. We remained friends for the remainder of my schooling.
On occasion I still wonder… Aren’t most children raised to be “good” people? Honestly… No, I don’t think so!
I think most children these days are taught to “behave”, not to be “good”. These are two different things entirely! When we behave, we are acting according to how the situation demands. When we are good, we are doing what is right.
As a parent, I don’t want my children to behave. (Yes, you read that correctly!) Their behavior should have nothing to do with what society demands or expects, but rather should stem from a moral compass which demands that we always be “good”.
Being “good” goes far beyond behaving, it is an attitude of the heart. It is an inner beauty that expresses itself in outward action.
When we are good, we will listen to our parents. When we are good, we will respect others and show kindness. When we are good, we will do everything to the best of our ability. When we are good, we will do the right thing.
When we teach our children to simply “behave”, we are failing to teach them the most important lesson of all… guard your hearts. It isn’t just about the outward appearances, but who you are as a person.
Being “good” shouldn’t be an act, it should be who you are. At the core of my children’s being, I want them to not only be a “goodie two shoes”, but to wear those shoes with confidence, knowing that they are doing the right thing.