This post first appeared in our weekly Make Waves Mondays email series on February 8, 2021.
When I started babysitting, my mom taught me to always leave the home better than when I arrived.
This meant not only keeping the child safe and alive, but also doing the dishes (including the ones already in the sink), tidying up the toys, wiping down the counters, taking out the trash - whatever needed to be done to make that home sparkle by the time the parents got home. I was a guest, trusted with their life.
After a family dinner or a party, my mom taught me to help with the dishes. We had been invited into someone’s home, they had spent time and energy preparing their home for us, cooking dinner, and making sure everyone was enjoying themselves. The least we could do was help them tidy up afterwards. We were guests in their home.
When we were traveling, my mom taught me to strip the bedsheets at the hotel before we checked out. Yeah, there are people paid to do that, but it’s a small act of gratitude for the hospitality, and to show appreciation. We were guests passing through.
We are all but guests on this planet.
We have been trusted with the life of this planet.
We are passing through.
Earth will still be here when we are gone. Our communities will still be here when we are gone. The next generations will still be here when we are gone. We are merely guests, making our home here for a few decades.
Sometimes, I think it’s easy to look at our collective history and marvel at how far we’ve come. Pat our collective selves on the back and tell future generations “Kid, you don’t know how good you have it.”
But all of the good that has come out of our history, came from groups of individuals like you, friend, who cared a whole awful lot, and recognized that they were but guests, and wanted to leave their community and this planet better than when they arrived.
It’s okay to marvel at our progress while striving for something even better.
So what will you do today, tomorrow, with this gift of a life, to leave your community better than how you found it?
You have the power to change the world, friend. Don’t ever forget that.