Volume 94, Issue 58

Friday, January 5, 2001


A late, but certainly credible response

I resolve to do better...maybe you should, too

I resolve to do better...maybe you should, too

By Matt Pearson
Arts & Entertainment Editor

The other night, a friend asked if I made annual resolutions and I said I do, but only when I think they are within my reach. Like working out. Or walking more and driving less. Or saying no to the temptations of the latest sale at the Gap.

I got thinking about resolutions and what lies at the core – a willingness to change some part of yourself. And then I thought, perhaps we're all missing the point. Perhaps our New Year's resolutions would be put to better use if they were directed at others and not ourselves. What if for once, we resolved to do something for someone else?

And so I resolve to do the following: To reach out to that friend or family member that may have become estranged in some way and rekindle a former bond. To volunteer my time to a local charity, not because my resume needs a boost, but because not everyone is as fortunate as I am. To pick up some trash so the next person who comes walking along sees a beautiful path. To smile at those who serve me in stores and restaurants and leave a more generous tip behind when it looks like that person has had a rough day. To listen to that harmless stranger on the bus, who wants nothing more than to chat with someone. To be more patient with children and appreciate all the joys that fill their little worlds. To give a panhandler a few bucks and not think twice about where they may spend it. To forgive that friend who may not have earned forgiveness.

I can sense the eyes rolling and people calling this "cheesy" and "hokey," right before they turn the page and continue on their way. But wait – isn't that part of the problem, both on and off our campus? We live in a society that has built walls and created complexes, a society that has drastically devalued the currency of kindness. We live in a place where doing something for others has become a faux pas, a thing of the past. We live in a world where humanity, it seems, has lost its ability to be just that – human. We have forfeited compassion for consumption; hope for hostility.

Maybe I'm naive and overly optimistic. Or maybe I took too seriously all of things I learned when I was in kindergarten. Whatever the case, I think it is important now more than ever to take a second and consider those around us. We live in a different world than the generations that have come before us and it's possible that we have lost a significant amount of faith in our leaders. But any lost faith in them only leaves us more responsible for how we treat one another.

And so it is up to us to resolve to do better, to treat people with more generosity and sympathy and less intolerance and hatred. This isn't Pay It Forward talk and it's not verbatim from some self-help book. It's the truth and while we're talking about resolutions, maybe we should consider it too.

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