Monday, February 13, 2012

Leave them better than you found them

No Troop 168 campout is complete without a police line through the entire area where we have been camping and gathering over the weekend. The Scouts form a line and walk across the area slowly looking to pick up every scrap of trash along the way. The goal is to leave the area looking even better than it was before we arrived. The phrase “Leave it better than we found it!” can be heard at the end of almost every outing as the Scouts prepare for cleanup.


As the Scouts walk slowly, there is also a designated person that no one is to pass. This ensures the line stays relatively straight and that everyone has time to thoroughly check the area. If trash is found after the line has completed the job then guess what happens next? You are right! They do the whole thing over again.

“Leave it better than we found it” is not an official Scout saying like “Be Prepared” or “Do a good turn daily” but to me it is just as striking

How different things would be if we strived to ensure we leave every person we have contact with better than we found them. What if we took that extra moment just to open our hearts and ask a friend, co-worker or stranger, “How are you today?” What if this question was followed with a few moments of real listening?

How different things would be if we just traveled through our day with a genuine smile on our face as an outward expression of the joy we feel inside about another opportunity to make a positive difference?

What if we never moved forward in life without checking the line to make sure everyone is moving forward and has a true sense of belonging?

For me at least, I know I could do a much better job serving the world around me to in some small way leave it better than I have found it.

What about you?

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