It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature’s gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.Jimmy Carter
Earlier this month, Jimmy Carter celebrated his 95th birthday. I was a child when he served as 39th President of the United States, so I don’t remember much about his term in office. What I’ve since learned is how much wisdom he imparts and what an excellent example of service to country he offers us, even at his advanced age. What I didn’t realize until I found this quote is how insightful he is about the survival of our natural world and our role in preserving it.
Failure to notice nature
I think I frequently failed to notice the beauty of nature when I lived in a big city. It’s easy to do when you’re surrounded by tall buildings, endless concrete, and people rushing to their next scheduled appointment. Maybe it’s happened to you, too.
But since we moved to Palm Springs, I intentionally stand in awe of Mt. San Jacinto to the west every morning and evening when it’s time to walk the dogs. I make a point of looking up to the mountain to take in the beauty and grandeur of what nature has offered us. And I stop to think how grateful I am that San Jacinto is the protector of the valley I call home.
Imagine the consequences
But what if you never honor the wealth of nature around you? What if you fail to appreciate its beauty, vastness, or seemingly impossible stillness? Would you miss nature if it disappeared from view tomorrow?
What if you spend more than 8 hours each day sitting at your desk, not making time to look out the nearest window to take in the sky? What if your weekends are filled with errands and chores that render your free time void of any appreciation of the world around you? Would you miss nature if it disappeared from view tomorrow?
For a moment, imagine the impact of not teaching your children to honor the gifts of nature around them; the impact of teaching your children hatred and war. What kind of world would we hand the next generation?
The dignity of humans
Now substitute people for nature – what is the impact of failing to teach your children to notice and honor what people offer each other? What is the impact of promoting the idea that others are not important?
I hear people say they don’t want to live in a world where they pay for the mistakes of others. I can understand the sentiment, but the truth is we already live in a world where we pay for the mistakes of others. Likewise, we benefit from the successes of others – although perhaps not always in monetary terms.
Here’s an example of how we benefit from the successes of other people. Not too long ago, Elon Musk opened for all the technology behind his electric vehicles that was previously patented. He did so to make it easier for vehicle manufacturers around the world to make cars that do not burn hydrocarbons. His innovation can now benefit us all.
Jimmy Carter’s prescient observations about nature are staggering to consider. And if you consider that people are an offering of nature, how much more staggering is the impact of failing to heed his words?