So. Feb 25th, 2024

„Am I a good person?”

No, it’s not about what morality experts say about the ways they try to find out what kind of traits, behaviors or manners should round up the image of someone, defined as „a good person”. It’s not about the retrospective we make at the end of each year: „Did I achieve my goals?” „Did I live wisely?”

I’m thinking of all the young people I met till now and  – of “the line game”! Do you know it? It’s called like that according to the scene in the film „Freedom Writers”, where Hillary Swank (who plays the role of the teacher Erin Gruwell) asks her students to stand on, facing each other, from the both sides of an imaginary line (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYYf-mUmPqI ). After that they are being asked questions. If the answer is „Yes, I do”, they have to step onto the line and then backward again, if it doesn’t apply to them, they just remain on their places. The game I usually play at the beginning of the Intercultural training or when we discuss about Ethnocentrism in order to point out the similarities between the students and create an „in-groop-sense”.

I’ve played „the line game” a lot of times as a part of my intercultural training with young people who studied at universities throughout Europe. Besides some questions like „Do you like music? “, „Are you curious of the world?”, and then „Do you want to change the world you live in in a way?”, “Is friendship important to you?” etc. I ask them also „Do you think, you are a good person?” It’s one of my favorite ones as it’s one of the unexpected – when you hear it, it strikes you in such a way, that you don’t have any other choice but to be honest to yourself.

Can you imagine, 30% of all my students remain by that question on their places: They hesitate to call themselves „ a good person”. Very sad to me to watch it! Is it a lack of self-esteem? A bad experience during the childhood? A word, dropped by the way by a parent? I can only guess. My purpose has always been to show them how beautiful and valuable they are – just the way they are. Beautiful and good.

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