Monday, October 29, 2007

What Do We Care About? What Is Important?

"Real change begins with the simple act of people talking about what they care about." -M.J. Wheatley (2002) Turning to One Another, Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future, (p. 22)

What do you care about?


Ed Latham said...

Many of our children's stories have positive morals embedded into the illustrations and short, but sweet prose. Almost every religious text ever written advises us on what we should be caring about. Some cultures that still do not have a written language still have ways of conveying what is important in life. All of this exists, and yet I find the question, "What do you care about?", to be such a difficult one to answer.

Listening to health experts, we need to care about ourselves first and foremost. The philosophy at work here is that you can not help others well if you are not in good mental and physical health. Looking at the obesity data in our society and the increases in depression lately, I guess caring about ourselves is not much of an emphasis.

Many would have us caring about the environment. Protecting resources, conserving, being respectful for the bounty that we do have in life are all the mantra. Yet, for every tree saved and every gallon of fresh water not used by a person, there are voracious consumers out there ready to use the resources you are choosing not to use today. So, caring too much about the environment seems to be an all or nothing venture.

Of course the family unit will be the first response from most people. "I care about my wife or my kids or my parents", will be the most automatic response from many people. If we look at the decline of the American family units and how we deal with our aging members of our society, the data does not seem to peg us as very caring of our family as some other cultures may.

Wall Street and all the corporations in the world want us to care about money to the point where many in our society obsess with getting more and more of this precious substance. Many a story has been told throughout history of the follies of caring about wealth and the consequences of doing so.

So, what do I care about? Who do I listen to?

I care about waking up in the morning to find I am still healthy enough to take on the challenges of a new day. I care about the love and companionship that only friends, family and of course a dog can provide. I care about every person I have the pleasure to share this space and time with; hoping that with respect, compassion and open minds life can be better for all. At the end of the day I care about what I have been able to accomplish. Underneath all of these cares lies one philosophy that I have stolen from religions and many Native American teachings:

I care that every day I have the opportunity to improve life. Specifically, I aim to retain the hope that, in little ways, I can leave everyone and everything in life better off then before I came around. To do this you have to appreciate what is and value what exists. This is difficult to do and is easy to avoid. If one cares enough about anything, he or she is guaranteed to have an effect. The act of just doing is bound to make an effect. The act of caring about what you do creates positive effects. This is why I teach...because I care.

Anonymous said...

First and foremost--my husband, my teen, and two dogs. Next comes work, then enjoying what life has to offer

Anonymous said...

I care about Truth & Compassion not neccesarily in that order.

Anonymous said...

I care about sharing laughs and good times with wonderful people!

Anonymous said...

I care about...

leaving here tonight and having a house that has not been destroyed by my dog because I have not been there all day.

Anonymous said...

I care about making connections w/ others, family, friends, laughing, looking for the good when it may be hard to and fun.