Leave things better than you found them

by Rod Smith

“Leave things – parks, campsites, picnic areas, beaches, national parks – better than you found them” is, for obvious reasons, a widely used, helpful mantra.

When applied, everyone benefits.

The communal or public facilities are left clear of litter, things are straightened out, tidied, to benefit those who will next use it. Those departing are better off for having increased awareness of the needs of others, even the needs of strangers.

It becomes a way of thinking, a lens through which we see the world, all it offers, and what we have to offer it.  Exercising such awareness and thoughtfulness leaves us all better off and offers us all a chance to grow.  

I think this principle applies also to people, to all encounters, casual to intimate.

Every encounter can be a positive one. Yes. It can. Even with that very difficult neighbor, that surly in-law, that rude guy at the post office. Your Ex.

You can make it so by how you leave it, how you clean up after yourself, how you take care of who you are and how you respond in the encounters. It’s not that I think everyone needs some kind of fixing but we can leave every encounter with grace, kindness, with an exchange that’s encouraging, even the most difficult of encounters.

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