When we were finished up our week away at the shore I was cleaning our rented place like a mad woman. As I was vacuuming under the couch in a weird contorted position that undoubtedly left me with a pulled muscle, my son said to me, “Mommy I don’t think you have to do all of that.” As I find myself saying frequently to my kids (because you all know kids can ruin some shit) I responded with, “we always leave things better than how we found them.” Even though I have made this statement many times, in that moment something struck me. Almost like a little message in my head alerting me just how important this simple idea is. Not for things (or places in this case) but MOST importantly people. We should always leave people better than how we found them.
Life can be so rough. It’s obviously rough because of the big things that occur naturally that we can’t control like death and trauma and illness but it’s also rough because people can have such disregard for one another. That roughness trickles down and slowly affects the world. Even the most well-intentioned and biggest hearted of us have moments when we let our Egos get in the way and we want to be right, get ahead of the next guy or give someone a piece of our minds. I’m forever trying to give love to everyone and always teaching my children to do the same, but I think that this one simple saying may be my new mantra. My new lesson to impart on my children. It can take on so many forms and work in all situations. My dear, sweet children I hope that you always look for a way to leave someone better than how you found them.
It’s healing the broken-hearted, forgiving someone your mind says you shouldn’t, being a friend to one who may have once seemed like an enemy, it’s backing down in an argument, it’s a kind word in a heated moment, it’s smiling at a stranger, sharing your strength with the ill and the weak, it’s teaching the unaware, accepting the different, giving hope to the hopeless, it’s bringing light to the dark. To my 4 children that I have to send out into this big, overwhelming world, THIS is the impact I want you to have.
You might not see the ripple effect in the moment. So many times our love and kindness seem dismissed. Don’t stop. Things aren’t always as they seem and sometimes the results are never to be seen. It doesn’t matter. Regardless of the response you receive you never know how much of an impact you can have on another. Continue to leave them better.