This past weekend my family and I took part in a city-wide sponsored cleanup, which left me with cracks in my fingers and a twinge in my lower back, but hey, I got a t-shirt out of it. A very nice, bright orange t-shirt—now if only I was hunter. Okay, all joking aside, I thought this event was a fantastic idea. What better way to teach my children to appreciate the city they live in. Once you’ve spent hours of tedious work sifting through acres of brush for bits of paper, cans, and other trash you’ll never leave another wrapper on the ground, I can promise you that.
In my excitement for this upcoming event, I came across a long time resident who surprisingly, refused to take part the in the annual cleanup. “Why bother?” The woman said. “It’s a waste of energy. In two weeks, the trash will be back.”
As a mother, if I had this attitude, I would stop bothering to wash dishes, do laundry, and the countless other never-ending household chores. Most things in life are never done, and ignoring them doesn’t make them go away. Have you ever walked into an uber-filthy house—the kind where narrow paths are the only way you can wade from room-to-room through the three-foot-high-sea of junk, and wondered, “How did it ever get this way?” It starts, as I am constantly telling my daughter, with that toy you didn’t put away, or that wrapper you left on the floor, then the dirty bowl left by the couch, compounding with each item piling on top of the other. It doesn’t happen overnight, but if you never picked up, your place would look just like the uber-filthy one I described.
Take pride, and take care of those things with which you’ve been blessed. And I mean everything, even the city where you live. You might find yourself working alone, that often happens when manual labor is required, but don’t give up. No bystander will ever improve this world. It takes effort, sweat, and sometimes, bloody fingers to make a difference—even if it is for only “two weeks.”