Why We Are Moved By Others' Good Deeds


On the front page of our newspaper today, we told the story of 15 children who were given bikes for Christmas by strangers who insisted on remaining anonymous.

It's hard to hear a story like that without feeling good.

It reminds you of what it was like to be a child. Maybe your parents walked you out to the driveway on Christmas morning or on your birthday to reveal a bike that you can still picture perfectly. You probably rode that bike everywhere and you probably still have a few scars from the days when you were still mastering the coaster brake down a steep hill.

But the story also reminds us about more than our childhoods.

It reminds us that there is good in the world and that's why the story is worth repeating.

The news these days is so full of stories of crime and tragedy that it's easy to become discouraged. After watching the nighttime news hour that jumps from a crime story to a story of the latest scam to a story about the number of germs on the bottom of your purse, the first response is to shut yourself off from the world -- to retreat.

But a story like the one about Santa's helpers on 1A has the opposite effect.

While browsing a newspaper Web site earlier this week, the title of a column caught our attention. It asked the question, "Why are we moved by other people's charity?"

The question in the headline struck a chord.

Why does witnessing good deeds give us a warm feeling?

It gives us hope. It gives us a feeling of security that if we were to come on hard times, that we live in a community that would reach out to us.

For many of us, it reminds us of a time when we were helped or when we were able to give.

These stories remind us of how fortunate we are in this country to have abundance that we can share.

They also remind us that life is what we make of it. The way we see the world is the world we live in. A world where we are giving and generous and where we celebrate those among us who are also giving and generous is a different kind of world than the one most often in the headlines.

It's a self-fulfilling prophecy for our society.

When we hear these stories, it challenges us to be better people.

And because of that, we would like to thank the people in that story on page one, not only for buying those bikes, but also for what they gave all of us when they gave of themselves.

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