Being a good, responsible person is one of the matters which have been receiving increased interest of researchers throughout history. A question often arises whether a good person has a particular, universal set of characteristics, which can describe them. As research reveals, it appears possible to determine a common perspective on decent people’s qualities, as they correlate with the primary values, which exist within a society at a particular moment. The purpose of this essay is to describe a good person of the 21st century in terms of their qualities and actions.
Characteristics of a good, responsible person have been evolving since the dawn of humanity, but their core remained intact. Sabky refers to these qualities as a matter of paramount importance in the modern environment. Pure kindness allows people to be noticed, as it remains a rare quality. It reveals itself in many forms, and some of them may seem small and insignificant, but it is vital not to underestimate its importance. Sabky cites an example of a university candidate whose candidacy was supported by the school custodian. The latter felt impressed by the student’s thoughtfulness, as he never hesitated to thank the school’s staff and clean up after his peers. In a way, this example reflects one of the basic qualities of a good person: recognition. It means that decent people are capable of thinking and acting outside their circle of friends and relatives. The ability to consider other people’s interests is crucial in the modern environment, which is characterized by an unprecedented level of diversity.
The presence of a strong role model is crucial in shaping a decent member of society. Its importance is particularly great during the stage of adolescence, as this point forms a future adult’s personality on a profound level. According to Johnson et al., role models help teenagers select the correct priorities in life and are usually someone adolescents know in real life (126). The majority of role models are represented by family members and close friends, whom young people admire for a particular reason. Despite the importance of other social interactions, the family remains a crucial aspect, which shapes one personality. Therefore, good relations within a household form a strong personality capable of kindness and thoughtfulness. In the opposite case, insufficient family support becomes highly damaging to one’s development and may entail dire consequences in terms of a person’s mental health (Liegghio 1273). Accordingly, a lack of kindness from the family side naturally entails a similar response from the person, and this tendency persists throughout their life.
In addition to basic traits discussed earlier, such as kindness, support, and recognition, a good person of the 21st century must adapt to modern challenges. Dennis and Harrison discuss the importance of the online environment in the contemporary setting. Indeed, the Internet and related activities play a role of pivotal importance today. Online interaction is characterized by a distinct sense of distance, which is why this environment often sees an increased level of verbal violence, intolerance, and bigotry. When a punishment is not imminent, it may be difficult to resist the temptation. However, this factor should not influence the actions of a truly good person. In the modern environment, decent people remain decent in both personal and online interactions.
In conclusion, there are different views on the nature of kindness and the meaning of being a good person. The understanding of it has been evolving along with humanity, but the core concepts have remained unchanged. While it is natural for everyone to care for their family and friends, a good person’s thoughts and actions extend beyond this circle. Additionally, they follow the examples of positive role models within their families to incorporate the virtues in future social interaction. The list of interactions comprises the online environment, since remaining decent on the Internet has become a basic requirement of a decent person of the 21st century.
Dennis, Matthew, and Harrison, Tom. “Unique Ethical Challenges for the 21st Century: Online Technology and Virtue Education.” Taylor and Francis Online, 2020. Web.
Johnson, Sara K., et al. “Adolescents’ Character Role Models: Exploring Who Young People Look Up to as Examples of How to Be a Good Person.” Research in Human Development, vol. 13, no. 2, 2016, pp. 125-141.
Liegghio, Maria. “‘Not a Good Person’: Family Stigma of Mental Illness from the Perspectives of Young Siblings.” Child and Family Social Work, vol. 22, no. 3, 2017, pp. 1237-1245.
Sabky, Rebecca. “Check This Box if you’re a Good Person.” The New York Times, 2017. Web.