Lance Scranton: What’s good?
A high school senior in my class last year would always greet me by exclaiming happily, “What’s good, Coach Scranton?”
I always enjoyed his salutation because it is such an underused expression and made me think about exactly that. Watching and reading current events can really make a small town guy wonder just what is good anymore.
But the answer lies in the place most of you would expect.
First of all; What’s good isn’t defined by a poll or a majority, and it has very little to do with personal fulfillment. It doesn’t roll with the tide and place value on group identity over individual responsibility. What’s good is when something is accomplished for its intended purpose. School is good because the purpose is to educate individuals who all have hopes and dreams. But education is not good when students become a commodity and are treated more for their income potential.
The goodness lies primarily in the shared value and attitude of a collection of individuals who understand their inherent value and inalienable rights granted by a constitution based on the discernment that we aren’t the center of the universe. The good has more to do with purpose and does not rely on opinion or consensus. Popular management techniques regard consensus as the highest possible outcome for good but without principled leadership will devolve into groupthink where we only speak to the like-minded and think the only valid and true way to think is vested in the group.
Each of us has a purpose which should not be left to a chance or a whim because it is part and parcel of our nature. The debilitating danger of identity politics is that it defines us based on our particular race, religion, social attitude or political bent. The individual is replaced by an “identity” mentality which labels some as privileged or embraces victimhood.
So when someone asks you what’s good, it might be wise to answer: “What’s good is that you are an individual whose background has offered you a unique set of challenges but with the help of teachers, parents, supporters, and friends, you are here today. That seems like a good start and together we can surely find some more.”
Or you could respond as I generally did with the young man: “You are until you prove otherwise.”
Stories enrich our lives. We tell them, listen to them, read them, repeat them, write them, watch them on TV, enjoy them in theaters. Stories teach us, entertain us, make us laugh, ease our social situations, and cement our friendships.