"Why do we do FIRST? Because the world's a mess," Kamen said. "Read the news, look around you. ... Two-thirds of the people alive today, or 4 billion people, are living on less than $2 a day, and half of those are living on $1. You're the richest people in the world by far, and the world's a mess, and somebody's got to fix it."
"What's on your mind as we close out 2008 and begin 2009? Large and small. What are often your first thoughts the minute you wake up? When you're alone and unguarded? Working? Stuck in traffic? Playing with the children? Walking the dogs? When you can't sleep?"
This was a lot harder than I anticipated. There are so many things that are always on my mind -- my family, parenting skills (and lack thereof), my dismal time management skills, passing my classes, making sure my students learn something, getting into better shape physically, and on and on. But I decided to think a bit 'bigger' for this assignment, and here's what I came up with:
1. Is courtesy contagious? I'm going to try to be a bit more courteous to everyone I come into contact with, in the hopes that some of it rubs off. Because basic courtesy seems to be a lost art. From rude comments on message boards and online articles, to rude drivers, to rude parents, and even rude fellow customers in stores and restaurants -- maybe if someone shows them an alternate way to behave, some will follow.... Not all, but maybe a few..... Maybe just one... and they can show another one....
2. Do we have the right leadership? Yes, but sometimes we need to look a little harder for our leaders instead of assuming they are just the elected officials we send to DC. There are people who have vision, ability, and resources who are even now doing something that can provide long term solutions. One of them is right here in NH - Dean Kamen - inventor of the Segway (among other things) and founder of the FIRST Robotics competition for high school students. From today's NH Union Leader comes coverage of the 2009 FIRST kickoff, and his speech, which includes these quotes:
"You can't confuse the real invention of wealth with this superficial movement of money, this shell game that's been played by bankers and the Wall Street crowd," he said after his speech. "It's time to get back to basics and invest in serious projects that will create serious wealth."
He believes in our future, and he's doing something about it. I too want to be part of the solution to the crises that seem to surround us from every angle. I'm not a multimillionaire or a famous inventor, but even if I just do small things like volunteering and being a bit more friendly and courteous to those around me, maybe I'll influence someone. Just one person... and they can influence one person... And so it goes.....
Happy 2009 to all my Fun Monday friends!