For thirty years as a teacher, my focus was clear: to be the best teacher I could be. Since I have been retired, I have been figuring out what comes next, what my next focus should be. Two weeks ago today our country made its decision, and we are ready to move forward. And I have decided to help.
Many of our fellow Americans have fallen prey to the notion that it is a dog-eat-dog world, that only the loud and armed have rights, that bullies win. I do not believe this. I believe in the overwhelming power of kindness to heal. The Jewish term for this is “tikkun olam,” repairing the world.
So here are my intentions.
I will help my neighbors. I will donate to food banks, help the homeless, and offer kind words to strangers.
I will help my neighborhood by shopping in local stores and businesses as much as possible, instead of sending money to the bottomless pit that is Jeff Bezos’ pocket.
I will help my neighborhood by picking up litter and encouraging others to do so. This weekend while we were our doing our ‘Sunday Service’ we ran into a little girl and her dad. In the course of our conversation, I said, “When you see trash on the ground, you think ‘Someone should clean that up.’” And her dad, without missing a beat, said, “And then you think ‘I could be someone.’” The little girl nodded seriously.
I will offer beauty instead of ugliness, forgiveness instead of anger, gratitude instead of greed. As Gandhi advised, I will be the change I want to see.
My Momma once scolded my dad for spending a whole day of a camping trip picking up trash along a mountain road. “You can’t clean up the whole world, Lowell!”
“I’m not trying to,” he said. “Just this bit.”
So I will just do this bit. Maybe you can do your bit, too?