Recently, a lot of people (2) have come up to me and asked, “Isn’t it scary to be an active bystander?” and “Why do you do it?” I told the first person, “Yes, I’m obviously not meant to be a security guard, and sometimes that’s what being an active bystander feels like.”
But when the second person asked me, I wasn’t as surprised by the questions. In fact, I think I had a pretty good, perhaps too honest, response. I told them, “I’m actually an incredibly selfish person. I’m semi-self-absorbed and I make decisions based on how they affect me.” The person looked a little confused so I said, “But, that’s also why I’m an active bystander. I mean, that’s why I intervene in situations, because if push comes to shove, I want someone to intervene for me. Sure, I help another person, but what I really want is for someone to help me when I need it.”
After the second conversation ended, I don’t know if that person thought I was crazy or conceited. But either way, it doesn’t really matter.
Ultimately, who cares what motivates me to be an active bystander? In the end, it’s the action that counts. So, yeah, maybe I am SOOOOO selfish, but at least I have found something that makes me want to be an active bystander. Everyone is different. People will step in in different ways, for different reasons.
The important thing, then, is to figure out what motivates you to step in. Are you a general do-gooder? Do you want your kids to go to a safe school? Or maybe, are you just sick of hearing stories about people hurting other people? Overall, the point is, I don’t care why you want to be an active bystander. It doesn’t matter why I want to be one either. What matters, is the difference we make for someone else and the ripple effect that can have on our community.
Until next time,