In 10 days, I will become a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. Over the past two weeks, I’ve had some time to reflect on my four years in college and have become very sentimental when I think about all of the human connections that I’ve made in that time.
Like the typical college experience, there have been great personal highs and lows, but if there is one thing I have learned during my college experience, it is to “make goodness attractive” no matter what.
The late Fred Rogers, host of the legendary children’s television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and my personal hero, talked about goodness during his remarks at his 1999 induction into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. Rogers asked, “How do we make goodness attractive? By doing whatever we can to bring courage to those whose lives move near our own, by treating our neighbor at least as well as we treat ourselves, and by allowing that to inform everything we produce.”
Another quote with a similar sentiment is also attributed to Rogers, where he says to “Try your best to make goodness attractive. That’s one of the toughest assignments you’ll ever be given.
Those words by Rogers have stuck with me ever since I first heard them, and while the quest to “make goodness attractive” may very well be one of the toughest assignments in life, it’s also one of the most essential assignments that we need to complete in our day-to-day lives.
It’s not always easy, and I know I have certainly failed from time to time. I’ve occasionally let the stresses of college get to me and have let it affect the way I treat my friends and maintain the connections to those close to me. The great thing about life though is that we are always able to start anew and better ourselves with each new day, and it’s that simple fact that has helped me tremendously in my quest to be a better person.
Life can be hard, and during our time in college, there are so many variables at play. First and foremost, many of us are still trying to find our identities and who we are as people. We often are subjected to peer pressure and the worries of trying to fit in.
Still despite all of the pressure and stress we endure, one of the most meaningful things we can do during our time in college and throughout the rest of our lives is to treat everyone we come across with kindness, friendliness and respect, whether they are dear friends or people who randomly cross paths with us on any given day.
That’s how we can all make goodness attractive.