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A private part of the common good

July 18, 2006

When I was a kid my dad would often stop his ‘53 Mercury, get out, and clear an obstruction in the road.  It might be a branch, some rocks, even a bale of hay that had fallen off a truck.  Then he’d get back in the car and we’d drive off.  I thought it was normal for people to do that. 

In later years, I came to understand that it is not normal.  Most people, if they see a branch in the road, would drive around them, muttering “somebody should do something about that.”  Today, people seem to feel that any harm to the public good can only be addressed by a public agency – the highway department, the schools, the police, someone ‘official’.

On the better side of the ledger, check out MrsDoF’s latest post, Making walking worthwhile in which she combines the common good with her private good.  Go check it out and give her some props :-)

What if everybody did something?

  1. July 19, 2006 at 06:46 | #1

    Nowadays everybody thinks only about himself. We often don’t thing about other people.

  2. mt
    July 24, 2006 at 23:35 | #2

    Well, maybe you should be the first to think about someone else, Alice.  And then your thoughfulness might spread to others, and they might follow your example, and so on, and you might make the world a better place.  Actually there are a lot of people already doing things for other people, if you just look around.  For instance, you must have heard about Habitat for Humanity that builds homes for the homeless.  Or what about the Big Brother program?  Or Literacy volunteers, or Red Cross volunteers, or volunteers for just about any charity you can think of.  I’m sure I could list a hundred or more ways in which people can help their fellow human being if I had the time.  So there are a million things you can do to make the world a better place if you want to, Alice.  Including moving tree branches out of the road like DOF’s dad used to do.  Hey, here’s my favorite funny thing to do at work.  I take an official looking envelope and enclose the following special goofy message in it for one of my friends: “Dear Jim (or whoever),  Everything is OK.”  Sometimes I sign it, sometimes I don’t.  Either way it usually puts a smile on their face.  So come up with some fun way of your own to make somebody happy, and then do it.  It’ll make you feel better too.

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