In my childhood I lived across the street from my best friend. His dad had a workshop larger than their house, filled with as many tools as a boy could dream of. My friend’s dad was always happy to loan out tools, but he had one rule. Tools had to be returned in better condition than when loaned. I was confused by this rule, because I believed it should have been good enough to return the tools in the same condition.
While I am still not sure of the rule on borrowing items, I am sure of leaving other things better than when I find them. The other things are people. A recent quote resonated with me, “your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, and how you leave others feeling is your trademark.” While we cannot control how others perceive us, we do have great influence over it.
In James C. Hunter’s book, The Servant, Hunter talks about leaving things better than you found them. He says that everyone is a leader, because leadership means we have influence. We have to decide if our leadership is good or bad. We have to decide how we will leave people after we have found them.
I have experienced false accusations, mis-communications, and misunderstandings as frustrating as a car with no brakes. Unlike a car with no brakes, I have always had the opportunity to influence the situation with my words and attitudes, or lack of words. Silence in a recent false accusation resolved the issue, even though every ounce of me wanted to defend myself. I was reminded of David and his accuser. David listened to the accuser and learned from it.
Sometime with words, more often in silence, we all have the potential to leave things better than we found them. The real challenge can be found in a quote from Tolstoy, “everyone wants to change the world, no one thinks of changing himself”
Question: Are you practicing the habit of change by leaving things better than you found them?