I couldn’t believe I was seeing it, but there it was. I was walking back up to my house after taking my cool morning scooter ride down to the end of my street with my son Josh. After saying goodbye to him, I turned around and saw a pile of trash at the end of my street – my suburban street. Someone had clearly made their way down our little lane late one night and unloaded the leftovers of their move out of some house nearby. Who does that!? Sadly, there apparently are people who do that. I purposely left it alone just to see what my neighbors might do. Will anyone in my neighborhood do anything about it? Today over a week later, the answer is – No. No one took it upon themselves to clean up the trash strewn on our neighborhood street. Really? Is everyone is going to walk their dog, and ride their bike to school and wait for someone else to brighten up their community? The answer is – yes.
Of course I’m not surprised. It’s just sad when you see the reality of a culture that is so individualized that people do not want to be bothered, at the same time they want to be left alone to do what they choose to do with their “freedom.” The lie of our individualized culture says, “What I do as an individual doesn’t effect you.” Not true. The individual decision to leave trash on a street has a civic effect on a local neighborhood. The individual decision to not care has a civic effect on peace in a city that needs people to care. The individual decision to sleep around or cheat on a spouse has a civic affect on the damage done to kids who are so broken it takes more time for school-teachers, and community leaders to come alongside and try to keep those broken children from growing into adulthood and repeating the damage done from the “individual” choices made by their parents. I could go on, but whether we like it our not what we do in the privacy of our own homes and lives is very much interconnected with the entire civic life of a whole community.