Forget world peace, I’ll take common courtesy

I know what you’re thinking.  “Who doesn’t want world peace?” Even Sandra Bullock in the movie “Miss Congeniality” wanted world peace.  Leaders the world over are always calling for world peace.

Not me.  I’ll take common courtesy.  World peace is too broad to achieve and too nebulous a thought.  It has to start somewhere and with me, that is in the mirror.  The act of courtesy costs nothing and makes a world of difference.  Remember the last time you allowed a car into the lane front of you, or held a door open for someone?  Often, you will receive a quick wave of thanks or a smile of gratitude for something that cost you nothing.

I’m no doctor, but I’m sure my blood pressure goes down after helping someone.  That smile of appreciation after helping someone load groceries into their car or changing a flat tire makes my day.  I can’t speak for the other person, but I’m sure it lifts their spirits and makes their day, too.  They may even be inspired to “pay it forward” and offer a little assistance or courtesy to someone else.  

In Haiti, our military is currently helping people who desperately need it.  Hundreds of people are mobilizing to provide assistance to those in need.  I’m sure the hours are long and hard but the satisfaction of being able to offer real help during such a crisis is unmatched.  I can’t speak for the Haitian people, as I’m sure no words can capture the feeling of restored hope knowing that people around the world truly care.  

We can’t all go to Haiti.  We are not all doctors, or nurses, or members of search and rescue teams.  But we all work and live near people in need.  Your elderly neighbor needs her grass cut, so cut it.  The young mother with a stroller and armful of packages needs a door held open, so hold it.  The man by the freeway ramp needs a warm meal, so feed him.  The list is endless.  There are limitless ways for you to have a direct and lasting impact on someone in need, especially during these tough economic times.

It begins at home, with you, your wife and children.  Lead by example.  Earn the phrase “S/he is Trustworthy”.  How many times do we send “leaders” to Sacramento or to Washington DC whom you wouldn’t even allow to babysit your children? Most of these “leaders” don’t lead by example, so we as citizens must bear the responsibility first and foremost.

This is a call to action, America.  If we want to be world leaders, respected around the globe, then we must walk the walk, not just talk to talk.  Seek and you shall find.  Look for those opportunities to exercise common courtesy and compassion right here at home.  World peace doesn’t begin in board rooms or at global summits.  It begins in the mirror. It begins with ME!