Ramblings: What Happened to Human Decency?

Robert Fulghum wrote the best selling book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten in 1986. That book was so successful because he was able to clear out the fog of a complex society and point out the simple things of what it means to be human, things we all learned in kindergarten.

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

A couple of decades ago, I was in a conversation with our pastor. I think I was an elder of that church and something bad had happened, were one church leader or pastor had abused another. I came up with a very complex theological position paper of why what this other pastor had done was wrong. Then my pastor said something that stuck with me, “Mike, you’re making this far more complex than it is. We are talking about basic human decency. The way that one human should treat another that even a child understands.”

With all the chaos of our present world, one has to stop and ask the question of whatever happened to human decency? Human decency is where you treat another human the way that you want to be treated. Human decency is where you know better than to trash talk another human being, lie to them, where you don’t try to physically hurt the other, where you do try to understand the other person, where you would never judge someone based on the color of their skin, nationality, political orientation, religious orientation, gender, sexual orientation, and the list goes on and on. Toddlers know this. Toddlers know it is not good to be mean. They know it is not good to put yourself at the center of all things. They know not to hit others, steal their things, and that playing nice is more fun for all. As a child we knew how to be infatuated with daisy or a cat or a sunbeam coming through a window.

God, grant us this immaturity, the childish innocence to allow us to be decent once again.


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