When my father was causing mischief because he was such a prankster, another adult family member said to me as a child, “Look at your dad so busy; he’s up to no good.”

Sure enough, he was putting a thin wire across a woman’s sandal and wiring it to two pegs he had hammered into the ground. That way, when my aunt tried to walk into her shoe and keep walking, she’d be stopped in her tracks to his great amusement.

“Up to no good” meant that the conception of an idea, the planning, follow through and the execution was haywire. The word good was used to represent beneficial thought and behavior with admirable outcomes as in “Good for you! You thought that through with constructive results!”

People tried to prevent a foolish reaction by asking an emotionally-charged person, “What good will that do?”

That question is actually a therapeutic one. Asking someone to consider outcomes is prudent.

Dr. Phil McGraw is known for asking people who’ve displayed counter-productive attitudes to apply 20-20 vision in hindsight with this litmus test, “Did that work for you?” The presumption is that if it didn’t bring benefit or brought injury, it’s irrational to do it again.

Dr. William Glasser’s key questions of his patients in his psychiatric practice were these: “Will what you’re contemplating help? If it won’t help, what would help?”

“Good for you!” is a way to show a person has done exceptionally well and his or her accomplishment was met with approval from people who matter. Applause!

Good is conceptualized to be evil’s opposite. It’s good versus evil. Good is God’s way and evil is Satan’s way.

The Bible says to “follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God” (3 John 11, King James Version).

I grew up with my parents singing the message of this Bible verse on their radio program: “O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good; How blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who takes refuge in Him” (Psalm 34:8, Amplified Bible).

Perhaps using good as a qualifier also stems from this verse of Scripture: “To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17, KJV).

“Does he do good?” is a way of asking if a person is righteous of mind, intent and action.

“Is he good?” is a way of asking if a person has integrity.

“She’s not good for you” means that associating with a person might be damaging to thought, success and reputation.

My young sons once had the privilege of playing for a soccer coach from Australia. When they made good plays, he’d yell, “Good on you, Shane! Good on you, Steve!” I loved to hear him since it seemed as if he was heaping good upon my children. “Goodonya” means good for what you’ve done and may more good come to your hard work, skills and potential.

“Be good now” was the admonition I heard every time my parents trusted me to someone else’s care. In other words, “Don’t misbehave or cause problems.”

Lions Club members set their hearts on good with their code of ethics: “Always bear in mind my obligations as a citizen to my nation, my state and my community, and to give them my unswerving loyalty in word, act and deed. To give them freely of my time, labor and means.”

Junior Service League members use these words as their noble guide for good: “The object of League shall be to give assistance to the needy; to render effective volunteer service; and to foster interest in the economic, spiritual, educational, cultural and civic conditions of the area.”

Rotarians have a four-way test to aid them in making good decisions and provide worldwide services:

n Is it the truth?

n Is it fair to all concerned?

n Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

n Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

To all the good people of the world, I express my appreciation. Y’all are among the blossoms that make our world a beautiful place. Thank you!

Facts correspondent Buddy Scott is director of His Love Counseling Services in Lake Jackson.

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