Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shopping Carts

I was instantly reminded of Jack's observations when I read Michael Josephson's commentary this morning:

"When we think about character we tend to think about really big things, like
taking heavy risks or bold acts of integrity or grand acts of generosity or self-sacrifice. These sorts of noble choices do indicate character, but for the most part, our character is revealed in much smaller events, like apologizing when we're wrong, giving to causes we believe in, being honest when it's simply embarrassing, and returning our shopping carts.

One of my favorite stories is about a father who asked his son to return a cart they had just used. The son protested, "C'mon, Dad! There are carts all over. No one returns them. That's why they hire people to collect them."

After a short argument, mom chimed in, "For heaven's sake, it's no big deal. Let's go."

Dad was about to surrender when he saw an elderly couple walking together to return
their cart. After a moment he said, "Son, there are two kinds of people in this
world: those who put their carts away and those who don't. We are the kind that
returns their shopping cart. Now go return the cart."

This story isn’t just about grocery carts. It’s about doing the right thing in a world that seems to promote rationalizations and excuses that demean or trivialize simple acts of virtue. There are two kinds of people: those who find the strength to do what they ought to and those who find excuses not to.

People of character do the right thing even if no one else does, not because they think it will change the world, but because they refuse to be changed by the world.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts."

Not surprisingly, I've learned that my blogging hero beFrank is a fan of Michael Josephson. As I told him, it shows.

Is your character showing?

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