I believe that whether we know it or not, everyday we show what we care about, how we care, and why things matter to us. What are you showing?
When you have kids running around you all the time, either as a parent, a teacher, a youth worker or a neighbor, you have an opportunity to show what you care about. As a consumer who buys and consumes and disposes, you have an opportunity to show what you care about. As a poet who writes and observes and espouses, you have an opportunity to show what you care about.
Every moment of every day is a demonstration of engagement. You have the chance to show the world that yes, indeed, I do care and I do want to give something back. Because for all of the caring you do or do not show, there is an undisputable web of mutuality and interconnectedness that brings us all together. When your friends don’t show you love and kindness, you feel it. When your family doesn’t put you in the family way, you feel it. That’s why Dr. King wrote, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
That is why the homeless guy cringing as you walk past him represents more than just an endemic problem in our culture: he represents a part of you. That’s why the school building full of kids calls out to your heart because you know they probably aren’t learning how or what they need to: that building represents a part of you. More close to home, that’s why you feel bad about missing Mother’s Day or a birthday, or why your neighbor’s death struck an odd chord in you: their death represents a part of you.
So take a minute and think about what you care about. How do your actions show that, and what do you think you should do differently? The real challenge is to move from thought to change, because it’s only through action that words take meaning.