What is good? 2



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Do you know what good is?  Is a thing good in and of itself or only in comparison to other things? 

What does it mean when we say that something is good enough?  Is it only that way until something better comes along?

I’ve had conversations where I’ve been asked or asked myself:

  • What is a good school?
  • What is a good teacher?
  • What is a good relationship?
  • What would good look like?

I’ve had many experiences where I thought what I was getting was good until I had another experience and got something really good and had my notions and standards elevated.  (Does good even need a qualifying adjective before it?)

For example, I realized that I’d only been getting adequate hair care after I went to a hair salon that gave me good, make that exceptional care.  (Epiphany Hair Studio in West Roxbury )

To them their service isn’t exceptional in and of itself; it’s just the way they do business.  Having gone there, I now know what good hair care is and what a good hair salon experience is.  My standards have been elevated.

In thinking about what a good school is, I realize that there are many people who don’t know what a good school is or what they should expect of good teachers.  A school system can have many schools with varying populations, different teachers and different parents.  It is for this reason that the whole standardized test discussion rankles me.  Perhaps we should wait to have standardized tests when we have standardized schools, teachers and kids.  In exam, private and other top schools, certain practices are a given because thiey are part of the standards for top schools (i.e., arts, sports, community engagement, etc.)  Particular educational practices are followed because they work.  So although what works is known, these standards and practices are not applied across the board.  Go figure. Anyhow – I’ll get off this tangent and back to my original point.

The relationship question was asked of me in a series of parenting workshops I facilitated in South Bay Correctional Facility a couple of years ago.  One of the participants said she didn’t know what a good relationship between a man and a woman was because she’d never seen one.  Another participant said that a good relationship was one that lasted but, in the discussion that followed, the women agreed that this wasn’t so.  Together we brainstormed what a good relationship would be.

Developing notions of what good looks like means being exposed or exposing yourself to a variety of experiences.  Not all of these experiences have to be lived; they can also be witnessed, read about, viewed through movies and film, and gleaned from the experiences of others.   

Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn. –C.S. Lewis

Experience is not always the best teacher, only the most painful. (Source unknown.)

What does good look like to you?  Do you know good when you see it?  Do you expect good from the world?  Can good be multiplied, quantified or duplicated?  Must good be experienced to be known?

Life is good and ending this post rather than going on and on and on is also good.  You can thank me later.

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If you liked this post, you might also like: Sorting for the Good  


About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.


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2 thoughts on “What is good?

  • Jim

    Good isn’t good enough…can’t say why, but that sticks in my psyche. Must have been my parents. A “B” was good. A meal is good. Clothing is good. A haircut is good. A person can get by on good. This comment is good.

  • Jim

    Often I have trouble getting past “is.” The next step, “good” is so malleable, so relative, it frequently stymies me. I like it when it’s clear…as in your new hair care salon. By the way, what is hair?