Did you ever have a time when you knew the exact right thing to say to someone who was feeling down on themselves?
Today I had that experience while chatting with a colleague who is also more of a friend. We've known each other for several decades of our careers, crossing paths multiple times until we now work together.
We were chatting about a work issue, then I asked him some questions about tuition tax credits. A strange segue perhaps, but his kids are a little older than mine so he's been at this college financing stuff longer than I. That got us off into talking about our various kids and how they were doing and the choices they are making and the lives they are building and how the role as parent continues to change with as they grow and mature. He was saying how he marveled at his kids, especially his oldest and at the choices he was making and the person he was becoming.
Then, closing the door first, he said somewhat wistfully to me, , "I tend to be a little too cynical and negative at times and I am never sure if I am a good person or a bad person inside; and I think my son is becoming a better person than me."
Well he does tend to be a little too cynical at times and I've joked with him about that, but I also know him as someone who is a caring ethical person, husband, Dad and son.
What immediately came me, and what I said in response, was a phrase I had read this week; that it is the good person who is attuned and cares about whether he is doing good or bad and continually reassesses his actions and adapts. It is the bad person doesn't care.
I think most of us wonder at times if we are more bad than good, more harsh or critical than not. I guess that's why we are a work in process.