Wednesday, July 15, 2009

the responsibility of belonging

i think people underestimate the extent to which they can touch the lives of others. in a thomas hobbes world-view, we could argue that everyone is out to get each other, but i feel rather that there is more room to spread love than hate–and certainly more responsibility to do so.

i interviewed four great young people today, the last of which particularly touched me by her enthusiasm and genuine commitment to changing the world through her service efforts. i have been thinking about various career paths, and one of them is to possibly "go to the other side," as we say in the world of education, to teach and counsel at a private school. hearing her talk about her school's traditions and atmosphere and intellectual drive made me want to be there myself.

did you know you have that power? i think we forget that in most everything we do, we are not only acting for ourselves, but representing everything with which we are associated. you are your town, your high school, your college, your country, your family. for better or for worse, to some degree we have to accept the responsibility of belonging.

james sherry, in his essay "pride and prejudice: the limits of society," reminds us that we have
"…an eternal reminder that we are all part of one community, and not even the best of men can be totally beyond the responsibility and the reproach of belonging to it."

how will you make your community one that you're proud to belong to?

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it's not just for the classroom!