Below is a chapter from Rule #2: Don’t Be an Asshat: An Official Handbook for Raising Parents and Children. Over time we will be posting most of the book, though, should this inspire you to buy a copy, we would not be offended 🙂 Posted chapters can be found in the Table of Contents.

Rule #36: Assume goodness in others (Dad)

There are those in the world who walk around in fear: fear of what people will do, fear of what people will steal, fear of how people will act toward them. Because of past experiences, some have good reason to be ultracautious, but I believe that the world has also succumbed to the idea that our initial reaction to others should be fear.

That is no way to live.

As you go through life, I hope that you’ll do so without the assumption that every other human being is trying to get one over on you. There is enough pessimism and distrust in the world that you need not add to it. In fact, what the world needs are more people who believe the best about people when others cannot, who see potential in people when others have given up, and who allow people to be in the world without having to prove they are worthy of being treated with dignity.

I am not saying to be foolish, let yourself be taken advantage of, or remain in unhealthy relationships; I only ask that you give being generous of spirit a chance. Sometimes you will be taken advantage of or be let down, but for those whom you allow dignity, you will do immense amounts of good. Some people are distrusted at every turn of the corner, bear the weight of undeserved assumptions, and rarely receive goodness; you relieve a small amount of that weight with gestures that assume dignity, humanity, and hope.

And that is a good way to live.

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