Thursday, February 5, 2009

Just as Guilty

The other morning I was doing my normal workout at the campus recreation center (yes, I am working out, yea me:-). I picked my same treadmill right next to the large windows that looked out at the parking lot. I admit, I can be a bit of a people watcher and rather enjoy seeing who is coming and going. The other morning, I was watching a fit looking girl get out of her car, grab her ipod, keys, and magazine, and then begin walking to the door. As she was walking, one of the inserts in the magazine fell to the ground. She stopped, turned, looked at the trash that had fallen, and then continued on her way into the rec leaving it on the ground.

While watching the girl, I kept thinking in my head “Pick it up, PICK IT UP!” However, the trash remained on the ground. I continued running about another 20 minutes. Person after person passed the trash, not ever hesitating to pick it up and throw it away in the nearby trash can. By the time I was finished working out, the trash was still laying there on the sidewalk. I very easily bent over, grabbed it, and tossed the paper in the trash on the way to my car.

After seeing this the other morning, I couldn’t help but flashback to a situation this past year when something similar happened.

One of my teammates on my National FFA Officer team, Tyler, had a cool motto. “If you see trash and don’t pick it up, then you are just as guilty as the person who dropped it in the first place!” Pretty simple!

Tyler would exhibit this belief everywhere we traveled. Often, we would find that we were all ahead and there was Tyler, straggling behind finding trash many of us never noticed. I admit, I used to be that girl at the rec who dropped trash and ignored it instead of putting it in its rightful place. I would feel that it would emphasis my mistake if I bent over to grab something I had dropped. Instead, it is so much easier to just walk on and pretend like you didn’t realize what had happened.

Today, I strive to be more conscious of my surroundings. Picking up trash is but one example of a way we can help make an impact in our own backyards. But how else can we? When we see a person “ignore” the fact the dropped something, what is to say they don’t choose to ignore other important things? Perhaps you sometimes choose to ignore the bully picking on one of your peers because it is easier if you just stay out of it. Perhaps you choose to ignore that rude comment said two people away from you while eating lunch. Perhaps you ignore a cry for help because it would inconvenience your day.

The bottom line is…if you choose to ignore it, you are just as guilty as the original person who started the problem. Yes, this is a common theme that many of us have heard…but do we choose to act on it? It can be as simple as picking up trash on the sidewalk while you go to work or school. Maybe it is as big as telling someone else that their rude remarks cannot be tolerated. If you see a problem, what can you do to solve it?

Yes, it is hard to be perfect in every situation. And yes, I am most definitely not perfect! However, they key is to be conscious of our surroundings and choose to act when needed. Tyler is a huge proponent of picking up every little bit of debris, trash, or small particle that is out of place to keep our environment clean. I will always remember the day he told our team his motto “If you see it, and don’t do anything about it, then you are just as guilty.”

Perhaps today we start thinking more about what we can contribute to others and our world. It is important to remember, that if you are not helping to solve the problem, then you are most likely contributing to it.

Make a difference…no matter how small.

1 comment:

  1. Becky I read your blog almost every day and I think it's great. Simple posts and they mean so much! I will think of this next time I see a piece of trash on the ground.