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What Kind Of Country Do I Want To Build?

Most of the time, I think in terms of where I want to live. In the last two years, I  became aware that I was focusing on the wrong thing. I should have asked instead, “What kind of Country do I want to build?” No matter where I go or live, I can choose to help create what kind of Country I want. A Country is made up of people, values, a way of life, and an image of what it stands for. A Country also has resources and it makes decisions on how it divides the resources among its population. It determines what should be done when strangers approach.

In the past, people became involved in what was being built. Each person was encouraged to participate in the process whether it was a barn raising, forming a Church, starting a school, or collectively meeting together to decide on values to uphold and rules all should abide by. The schools, churches, and homes were aware they needed to be instruments in informing others what the boundaries would be, the rules to be obeyed, the values upheld, and how other people would be treated.

Somewhere along the way, we became distracted by the internet, the cell phones, and allowing the media to reflect back to us its views of what was acceptable behavior, what words to use, and how to treat other people. We became slaves of time. We stopped building and was content to let others take the responsibility of deciding for us what kind of Country we would live in. As a result, we ended up living in a place where chaos was normal and peace was hard to find. Owning up to your own mistakes became a rarity. Blaming others for everything, and treating minorities with no respect became the new normal. Hatred and dividing others became goals. Parents gave up or were too tired to teach children how to behave,what to expect, and what values to claim and live by. We stopped building our Country and became passive.

To build again will take everyone deciding and changing his words, his actions, and his thoughts. Each person needs to see how he influences and impacts others. Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote about this in a poem: “You Never Can Tell.” Here are a few last stanzas of the poem:

“You never can tell when you do an act

Just what the result will be,

But with every deed you are sowing a seed,

Though the harvest you may not see.

Each kindly act is an acorn dropped

In God’s productive soil;

You may not know, but the tree shall grow

With shelter for those who toil.


You never can tell what your thoughts will do

In bringing you hate or love,

For thoughts are things, and their airy wings

Are swifter than carrier doves.

They follow the law of the universe,

Each thing must create its kind,

And they speed o’er the track to bring you back

Whatever went out from your mind.”