Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Land We Borrow From Our Children

The more blessed you are, the greater your responsibility to your community. It seems pretty obvious to most of us, but very few people really take this to heart. I'm not saying we all have to be budding philanthropists. I think that what Beautify CNMI!, MINA, CAMI and other organizations have done is spark a dormant need for our people to look around ourselves, appreciate the wonders that make up the CNMI, and move into action.

This was so apparent during my last trip to another country. I loved the location for the cheap shopping, its friendly people and the unique culture, apparent at every turn. I also, however, realized that there are great lessons we can learn from being away. What I saw was extreme wealth living side by side with extreme poverty - and it struck me. The rich took care of themselves and got increasingly more detached as well as wealthy. The needy watched helplessly as their neighbors prospered, locked into a socio-economic stratum . It was more than a zoning problem, it was a problem of the heart. I may be presumptuous in thinking so, but when you find yourself surrounded by good fortune, even if you've worked your way up to get to that point, wouldn't you want to help ensure your community flourished too? If not for your sake, for the sake of your kids? If not for their sakes, then how about the sake of future generations?

Not everyone needs to join a community organization or give tons of their own money away, but everyone can do SOMETHING. I vow to use and re-use my own coffee mugs and water bottles, buy more local produce and not let the faucet run so much. I also promise to be more aware of the issues that affect my home and speak up when I have something to say.

These is the inheritance I want to pass on to my children - habits of mind and heart. They are ultimately more lasting than money and a more valuable birthright than gold.

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