It Takes So Little… to be Above Average

The road to life is a disciplined life;
    ignore correction and you’re lost for good.                                                                                                          Proverbs 10:17 (The Message)

I remember reading the book years ago written by Florence Littauer titled, It Takes So Little to be Above Average. The concept is so simple, so basic, yet the results can be profound. I had the privilege of having dinner with Florence Littauer, along with my wife and a mutual friend, shortly after she wrote that book. She was very encouraging to me in my early attempts at writing. She also seemed to live the title of the book she had written. She really believed that we could, with very marginal extra effort, live a more compelling and impacting life. I think she was right.

It takes just a little effort to make our lives, and the lives around us, just a little bit better. I thought about this again recently while walking. I saw discarded paper masks, pop bottles and other assorted trash outside of the store I was about to enter. Litter, I told my wife, is a measure of how people value their community. The more litter, the less community cohesion and collective discipline.

Now, litter has been a problem for many years. Further, my hypothesis about the amount of litter and the inference about the collective care for the community has not been measured- at least to my knowledge. Nonetheless, I am disturbed by the presence of litter because it reflects poorly on my community. More importantly, it makes me believe that the general level of discipline has slipped.

It really, truly, is not hard to find a receptacle for trash. The laziness of those who litter gives me concern for the deeper, more negative implications that it holds. That is, people do not care enough about others to take a minute to do the right thing. They are thinking, at that moment, only of themselves. I think, as a society, we are becoming less disciplined, less caring, and less community focused.

As Florence Littauer wrote, it really takes very little to rise above mediocrity. I think that is true. I wonder how many people really want to do that?

Prayer: You have created us to care for one another, and our shared environment. Forgive us for our careless behaviors which dishonor you and our fellow travelers, Amen.

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