The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
Today on a morning walk I spied a neighbor walking her dog. She actually lives in a different development, but none-the-less I call her a neighbor. Her dog proceeded to urinate and defecate on several lawns. As we approached our house, there she was and there the dog was again doing his business on my lawn and flowers. My gut said would you say something. So I did.
Me: “Please don’t let your dog on my lawn.”
Neighbor: “Which lawn is yours?”
Me: (Somewhat befuddled) “The one you are on.”
OK the lawn is not really my concern. Ours is brown and lifeless during this drought, and I do not put much effort into the lawn. It is the principle here. Here is what I wanted to say:
Me: “Hey if you want your dog to use a lawn as a toilet, use your own. You are trespassing, and destroying private property (I know that maybe it’s a stretch).”
Why didn’t I. I don’t think she would have gotten the idea. I had to draw the boundaries for her. And there in lies the problem. When did it become OK for people to just dowhat they want, and not accept the consequences. I never have let any dog I owned wander knowingly onto someone else’s property to do their business.
Recently we had local news stories about senior pranks. During the final days of high school for those that are graduating, they apparently think of wonderful pranks they can do to leave their mark. Some even post it on FB and administrators at the schools can intercept them. Others get by them. One incident was a silly string free-for-all. They were spraying silly string at each other and a mob ensued. As staff tried to break it up, the students refused to move and the of course the problem grew. The students were suspended and not allowed to go to graduation. Many students and parents felt this excessive. Hello people, it is called insubordination and could get you arrested or fired in the “real” world.
Another more serious incident was the cutting down of several smaller trees outside another high school. Reaction: No big deal. No harm done. Really! Yes harm done by many thousands of dollars. Not your property and trees. They are still searching for these students so they can be arrested. A colleague suggested the students should have to dig the holes to replace similar sized trees.
Same high school…food fight. Again what is the big deal. Lots of fun that is shown as funny and OK in film and TV. Really! Many students and staff were injured in falls or by being hit in the head with objects. Students suspended and not allowed to attend graduation. Again students thought it excessive…”real” world would dictate being arrested for assault.
I guess my point is that I continue to witness more and more incidents like these and they all boil down to boundaries. We do not understand when we have stepped across these boundaries. I don’t even think many kids today know that there are boundaries. Why? We can name all the reasons and lay blame….parents, TV, media. But blame isn’t going to help the problem. It has to start somewhere whether at school or home, but we have to set the role models for kids and adults. We have to give media or parental/adult attention to those good role models more than the ones that show, “I can do what I want” or “I am so-and-so and I can do what I want.”
I do not propose to say that I am perfect and do not make mistakes. But my parents instilled in me those basic principles that they felt we should follow to have a caring society:
- Do unto others as you would have someone do unto you
- Respect others and do no harm
- Apologize and take ownership for your behavior.
As I contemplate these principles, I think about my garden; my patch of earth. Do I follow these basic principles/boundaries for my garden. I think I do. We take care of our property. We have chosen to not use chemicals unless we have an extreme problem (like an exterminator issue). I am replacing plants that are thugs in my garden with less invasive plants where I can. Some natives and non-natives in my garden are invasive so I have educated myself before I plant. I am amending the soil throughout the season so I can reduce weeds and have a healthier garden. I accept my mistakes and try to remedy them. With drainage problems, we created rain gardens. For ground covers out of control, well I am working on those. Wrong soil or pH, amend the soil. And on and on as you can guess all the other mistakes we all make as gardeners as we continue to educate ourselves.
For the garden, the rewards can seem limitless if we accept the the basic principles for good gardening; that we have boundaries to garden within to ensure healthy plants and rich bounty. In life our possibilities can be limitless too, but again we need to accept that there are principles and boundaries. My wish is that we can help each other learn these principles to enrich our lives and futures.
Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.
~ Robert J. Collier
Special Note: Monthly (usually around the 10th) I guest blog at Walkabout Chronicles.
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