Words of Worth

Top Resolution for 2018

December 31, 2017

On this last day of 2017, it is common practice for many to look back on the year toward the view of changing or improving things for 2018. We may reflect upon our eating and exercise routines, our patterns of earning and spending money, whether or not we have read enough books, or done well in our relationships and jobs. Then we try to resolve to do better in 2018!

A quick walk down the 2017 memory lane would remind us of many events, ranging from incredibly happy to indelibly horrible, from vast love to vile hatred, and from rescuing mankind to snuffing out life. Prince Harry’s engagement, obsession with fidget spinners, predictions of driver-less cars, the Oscar outrage over the best picture announcement mistake, the viral videos of Jeopardy champion Austin Rogers, and the sea lion pulling a child into the water, disrespect for the American flag, acts of terrorism in England, Syria, Somalia, Las Vegas (to name only a few), disastrous hurricanes -Harvey, Irma, and Maria, earthquakes, and the Me Too movement! All of these memories show both the good and dark side of humanity and may be the reason many want to do better, be better, and do what matters for a wider world. According to The Marist Poll, a national public opinion poll, the top resolution for 2018 is to be a better person!

The Poll indicated that many feel our nation is in crisis because we have lost our sense of responsibility for our neighbors, and the solution, or way to regain that sense, is to be a good person!

But what does it mean to be a “good” person?

Moral philosophers, social psychologists, ethicists and religious leaders, all seem to be on the same page when it comes to the heavy hitters of bad and good behavior: it’s bad to murder, steal and cheat and it’s good to be just, kind, and fair.

However, goodness gets complicated. Are you good if you’re sweet to your mother, but rude to strangers? Or are you good if you give to charitable organizations but cheat on your taxes? What we think of as good is often morally flexible, and moral values are often bent depending upon the situation.

Most moralists suggest that being a good person has a lot to do with how we treat other people. And who are these other people? Our family? Our closest friends? People who are most like us? Good people, according to moral philosophers, are good to everyone—to people in their circle and especially to others who are outside of their circle.

Some suggest that in order to resolve to be a good person in 2018, we must take stock of our badness or where we fall short of goodness. Such introspection will enable us to see where we are loving or lacking in loving others.

What is the top resolution in 2018? According to public opinion polls: be a better person by treating others lovingly.

What is the greatest commandment every year of our lives and not just 2018?

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 22: 36-39

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