The obvious (but ignored) way to turn society around
My first opportunity, I blew it.
It was the morning after I published this article, wherein I wrote, “Never let a day pass without doing something thoughtful, kind, and loving for someone else, no matter how small, with no expectation of any benefit to yourself.”
I was in the middle of my standard morning routine, which I’m religious about; it sets the tone for my entire day.
Queen Karina was in a rush to go to an event when she remembered she needed something from the store before she left. She asked me to go pick it up for her while she got the kids ready.
I sighed. I grumbled. I reluctantly agreed, bugged by the inconvenient interruption.
I had an attitude about it the whole time I drove to the store — until it dawned on me: Duh! She handed you your opportunity to serve on a silver platter and you blew it!
And then I was struck by an even deeper insight: Why do I think my family somehow doesn’t count when it comes to service?
My attitude, I realized, revealed the fact that I take my family for granted.
Of course, I serve them on a daily basis. But even my service to them is taken for granted, usually performed on auto-pilot as an obligation. It’s not done with the same consciousness, eagerness, and joy as when I serve others.
Do I somehow think I won’t get the same blessings if my service is done for my family, versus friends, acquaintances, or strangers? And if that’s true, does that reveal that I only serve in order to get blessings for myself?
Will service to everyone other than my family make more of a difference in the world?
Shouldn’t our most conscious and gracious love, our most compassionate service, our thoughtfulness and kindness be applied first and foremost to the ones closest to us?
It pains and shames me to admit that had a friend asked me for a favor at that moment, I would have eagerly agreed, happy for the opportunity to do my service project for the day.
There’s something deeply wrong about that picture.
How many people are there in the world who are unhappy because their family life stinks because they take each other for granted? And are these not the same people we feel called to serve in order to alleviate their unhappiness?
We do it all backwards.
What if we all focused our conscious, devoted efforts to serve on our family first? What kind of a world would that create?
Husbands and wives doting on each other on a daily basis, constantly looking for ways to make one another happy. Their emotional needs being met, they’re more conscious of the needs of their children and more willing to serve them.
Happy children who feel loved and cherished go out into the world and love and serve their friends.
And on and on the ripple effects flow.
And just like that, with one man being thrilled by an opportunity to serve his wife by picking something up from the store from her, a global movement begins.
The 20th Century genius Buckminster Fuller once wrote a powerful analogy:
“Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do.
“Think of the Queen Mary — the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder.
“And there’s a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab. It’s a miniature rudder.
“Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all.
“So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab.
“Society thinks it’s going right by you, that it’s left you altogether. But if you’re doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go.
“So I said, call me a Trim Tab.”
I hope I never again forget that the most important, dynamic, impactful trim tabbing starts in the home.