If I asked you whether or not you are a nice person, or perhaps a bad person, you would more than likely say that you are nice. Why not? According to society's standards (across the board,) a bad person is most likely someone who has killed someone, or raped, or stolen, or inflicted physical or emotional harm on another person. I would even add that a bad person is more than likely the type of person to harm an animal.
But what is a nice person? A good person? Would that be someone that pays their taxes, takes care of their children, and provides for their family? Is a good person one who never kills, steals, rapes, pillages, or covets your neighbor's cow?
I would agree that a nice person or a good person follows the golden rule - up to a point. See, it's easy to not kill, because we know we would get in trouble and spend our lives in jail, or for the more religious, in Hell. It's easy to not rape or steal or commit extortion or arson, because, well, it's illegal and there are consequences for our actions.
To be perfectly honest, all of those reasons are superficial and selfish. Yeah, I said it. The reason we don't commit horrible atrocities is because WE do not want to end up in jail, have OUR reputations tarnished, or perhaps, WE might end up in Hell.
I think those "good" actions should be seen as a given. A meeting expectations sort of thing.
But what about ACTUALLY doing something good. Something because it would make some one experience a little more ease, a little more peace, or meet some one's basic need. Not because it makes us nice, but because it is the right thing to do.
Two things came up recently that made me think of this issue. Silly little signs, but an el signo all the same. On Sunday, as I was walking from the guest bathroom, with my hair twirled inside a towel-turban, I noticed my dad was watching Sunday Morning on CBS. He never misses this show, and has been a big fan from at least the Charles Kuralt days. I caught a quick interview about Brad Paisley.