Make Helping a Habit

by Mark Zaugg 30. July 2013 06:07

I am a fixer.  I want to repair things that are broken.  I want to right what is wrong.

It's part of why I value my career.  Each and every day I get to fix something, or stop something from breaking, or make sure I can recover something in case of loss.  It requires attention to detail, keeping yourself organized with good notes, and a lot of foresight.  When I make a mistake in the foresight department (and I do that a lot!) I have lessons to learn, usually they're serious at that stage.  Serious lessons are painful to learn.  You can wallow in it or you can pull yourself up, learn and move on more prepared for the next time.

I've made a lot of mistakes, some have nearly broken me.  Some have taken years to recover from.  The biggest lesson I've learned along the way is from the great Murray Walker who said, "Never, ever give up."  I've decided that in my immediate world that means I should never, ever give up trying to make things around me just a little bit better.

It's not always easy.  I still let all the stress and crap get me down sometimes.

Shit does happen.  A woman was mistreated in my neighbourhood this past weekend.  I can't change that.  I can't fix that.  I can't make it better.  It bugs the hell out of me to be helpless.  But I can work to make our neighbourhood more cohesive.  We can improve things around us.  We can help each other.  It is what a community would do.  We must continually work to strengthen our communities - be they physical communities on a map or virtual communities on the internet or temporary communities that come together to meet then flit apart.

I've done my best to teach my children to respect others, I do my best to set the example daily.  Quite often I fail, or screw things up, or come across as disingenuous.  Tonight I was told, "It must be nice to be so colourblind."  Then I thought of Naheed Nenshi saying, "Calgary is the city where no one cares who your Daddy is."  That's the place I want to live, that's the interpretation of colourblind I long for.  I want to respect all my neighbours - my neighbourhood wouldn't be anywhere near as awesome without them here.  I want my neighbours to bring their best efforts forward, I'll put my best on the table too, and together we'll make a difference.  Some days are better than others, but the sum total needs to be moving forward.

Positive, directed change.  It's not a line I'm trying to feed anyone, it is very much an idea I've dedicated myself to working on daily.  I'm not a hero.  I'm not a genius.  I'm just an average guy trying to make things better each and every day.  Trying to learn something new each and every day.

Make helping a habit.  Sooner or later we'll run across each other and together we'll accomplish great things.  The rest of the world will have to look after itself until we get around to making it better, too.

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