Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community. Anthony J. D’Angelo

helping hands reach out. | I-am_nah | Unsplash.com

I was reading Ryan Holiday’s newsletter today, and he was writing about seeing more trash on the roads, parks, and beaches. It sparked this idea: are we so overwhelmed in our own lives that we have lost the ability to care about our neighbors, the environment, people who disagree with us, and people who have different priorities than us?

I was in a meeting yesterday where the City Public works department presented their process for keeping the 538 miles of city roads ready for travel. During the question and answer session, we learned how our city spends its money. Spending by the government is always about tradeoffs between multiple requests. This time the city infrastructure didn’t get any money for the next bond. Those involved with infrastructure complained that we are spending our money on people’s concerns. I know these people, and it isn’t that they don’t care about the city’s people issues; it is just that they care about infrastructure. Consider what you care about.

What do we need to prioritize?

So our ability to care requires us to prioritize our life choices. Life choices are things like.

  1. How do I spend my money?
    Do I spend it thinking only of myself, or do I consider others? Very few of us have enough income to use for everything we think might be fun or good. So we always have to make choices. Make them wisely with thoughtful care for everyone.
  2. How do I spend my time?
    Time is something humans have constructed to make us believe that doing more in less time is a goal we must strive to reach. However, my famous fable “the tortoise and the hare” belies that thought. Being more productive isn’t the right goal, but doing the right task at the right time is. Like the tortoise, slow and steady wins the race.

    When we consider how to spend our time, we must consider our priorities and those around us. We have to take time for ourselves and others. It is not enough to only consider our problems when we allocate our time, and we must consider the needs of others.
  3. Do I pick up after myself?
    This one I do because I live alone. However, I do it on my time scale. I don’t toss trash out of my car window on a trip. Instead, I am careful to gather all my trash on a flight to give to the flight attendants.
  4. Do I pick up after others even though it was a mess I didn’t make?
    Not as often as I should. If I see trash on the ground near my apartment, I probably will leave it there for the staff to clean up-I’m not too proud of this.
  5. Do I take steps to reduce my environmental impact?
    I live in an apartment complex, and I have to admit I am not very good about picking up after others. What kind of car do I drive, not the new Ford Mustang GT parked near my door yesterday or the biggest four-wheel-drive pickup? Do I use my stuff up? I was with a friend last week, and her car has 102,000 miles on it, and it is still going strong. However, some think we need a new car every two years.
    Our environmental impact is about the choices we make every day.

How do we choose?

Making choices is about thinking through our beliefs, our biases, and our views about what caring means. We make choices every day. Our subconscious makes many. We slow or stop if we see brake lights in front of us. But these are not the choices we need to worry about.

We have to control our minds and our worldview to ensure that we make choices based on what is going on around us. We need to reflect on the choices we have made each day to ensure we know why we made them and to change our worldview for those we don’t like.

Let’s choose to live a life of caring and be willing to pick up the world’s trash.

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.