As an adult, many times I’ve found myself appreciating the messages in the shows I used to watch as a kid.
“You were not supposed to do good deeds because they would get you noticed! You were supposed to do them because they were the right thing to do!”
~Jorgen Von Strangel, The Fairly Oddparents, “It’s A Wishful Life”
Lately, I’ve found myself feeling like Timmy Turner in “It’s A Wishful Life”: Unappreciated. (I know that must sound selfish, but I’ve got to be honest with myself.)
The reason I say this is:
It is during those times where I feel unappreciated that I remember one important thing:
How important unknown acts of kindness are.
Recently, I played BioShock 2.
In that game, I have the choice to kill or spare a character named Stanley:
He was the one who was responsible for my pain and suffering after I was captured by Andrew Ryan.
I chose to let Stanley live. Getting on the train and leaving him behind though, I didn’t get any confirmation that I’d done that: No Achievement unlocked, no words from Stanley thanking me for letting him live. Nothing.
I was worried. Would I still get the “good” ending? I thought. I thought I’d done something wrong. That I hadn’t “officially” let Stanley live: That there was something I needed to do (other than not shoot him) to let BioShock 2 know “Hey! Stanley’s still alive!”
And then I saw the ending:
That ending was just what I needed.
I really had spared everyone. Even though I didn’t know it at the time.
It’s like that in life:
You won’t unlock an Achievement for doing what is right. But it is nonetheless important that you do it. Because someone is watching. Even if you can’t see them.
Eventually, your actions (or lack of action) will be laid bare for all to see.
So: A question:
What do you want people to see?