Every so often, I see examples of how things should be. I can cite you some local examples.
A while back, I visited Bouse Elementary School as the students there learned about robotics and radios. They were helped by the local amateur radio operators, who volunteered their time to work with the kids. I could see how excited the kids were. They were thrilled not only to be learning about robotics, but also recognizing the wide world of possibilities in front of them.
The radio operators who having a wonderful time passing on the information and experience they had to the younger generation. They were having almost as much fun as the kids.
This was something rare in education: young people discovering the joy of learning, while adults having the chance to pass on what they know in a fun way.
Another example. Last Fourth of July, there was a demonstration in Western Park in Parker in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. As you might expect, it was a hot day. I was talking with the demonstrators when I saw a sheriff’s pick-up truck pull up. A deputy I’d known since she was in high school got out and brought bottles of water for the demonstrators.
There was no anger or animosity. The deputy said she and others in the department wanted to make sure the demonstrators stayed hydrated. Many of the demonstrators knew her, and some chatted with her before she returned to her duties.
Looking again at law enforcement, I saw sheriff’s deputies and Parker Police officers delivering bottles of water to Blake Primary School last fall after the school district went to their hybrid schedule. With the coronavirus pandemic, the drinking fountains were shut down. Most of the kids brought water to school, but they didn’t always remember where they put their bottles. The PTA worked with the deputies and officers to bring them water so the kids could always be able to get a drink when they needed one.
Looking at Bouse again, they had a problem with free range cattle wandering into the community and causing damage. They worked with the Bureau of Land Management to have a fence built to keep the cattle out.
There was no anger or finger-pointing. The residents and the BLM people got together, made a plan, and they got that fence built. It was all done very smoothly and quickly.
These are just a few local examples. I’m sure you can think of many others.
What do all these situations have in common? In all of them, people cared about each other. They also cared more about getting something done than in laying blame or making a scene. Their minds and hearts were focused on accomplishing a task. Of course, one of the reasons they focused on the task was because they cared about each other more than anything else.
Can we learn anything from these examples? If anything, what we can learn is that it’s remarkable how much can get done when people care about each other. It’s amazing how quickly and effectively problems can be solved when people stop trying to find blame and work together to get those problems solved.
Louis Armstrong was perhaps the greatest American musician of the 20th Century. He experienced great evil in his lifetime, as he felt the effects of racism and Jim Crow segregation in the South. Yet, he never let that stop him from trying to bring people together through his music.
In his spoken introduction to “What a Wonderful World,” Armstrong described what the world needed to make it a better place.
“Love, baby, love,” he said. “Yeah. That’s the secret. If lots more folks loved each other, we’d solve lots more problems, and, man, the world would be a better place.”
Armstrong was on to something. If more people cared about each other, we could make many of our problems go away. We could see more examples of how things should be.
Perhaps we Americans need to care more about each other. We might be surprised at how much we can get done.