We Can Do Better

My wife and I frequently camp with a long time friend who was in boy scouts. Every trip he teaches everyone at least one new thing from his scouting days. Sometimes it is a trick for making hiking a bit easier. Other times he points out ways to help me get a campfire going (I’m still not very good).

Out of all the things he has shared, my favorite is his #1 rule for camping: Always leave the woods better than you found them. It is my favorite because it is so simple but it makes such a big impact, even if only some of the campers follow it. Something as little as picking up a piece of trash that doesn’t belong to you helps.

One camping trip shortly after TriConf this year while we all were relaxing around the fire, I realized that this rule applies to people as well: Leave people better than you found them. It is not enough to follow Wheaton’s Law; we need to help each other out. You rarely realize how empowering your hi-five or fist bump can be to another person.

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Joe Weakley

I am a software developer during the day, a gamer at night, and an outdoor adventurer on the weekends.

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  • Suzy Garza Higley

    I agree. It’s simple and can make someone’s whole day brighter. It does for me. Just a smile even. I think people may stop themselves from the ‘high-fives’ for fear it won’t be received well. At least for me, I still feel that way, even though I decided this year to say the nice thoughts I think instead of keeping them in my head. But I still feel that worry, “am I commenting TOO much? Is it just annoying now?)”. I hope not. 🙂 I’m just trying to ‘Leave people better than I found them’. Great post Joe 😉

  • Steve Meddaugh

    I love this, Joe. I see way too much leaving people less than… It’s not that hard to make someone’s day better. Sometimes it takes nothing more than a smile.

  • What a great simple yet powerful message. Good to read your thoughts on here Joe! My Dad taught us that principle repeatedly growing up as well. Even when we were homeless for the bulk of one Summer and camped out by the John Day River, when he finally got a job and we all packed up and headed off to a more suitable home for a family of ten, we took great care to leave that place in better shape than we found it. I love how you’ve made the connection between this concept and how we interact with the humans in our life as well. Thanks Joe!

  • Here here!

  • Joe, you are so great. I was pleasantly delighted to spend (most of) the weekend with you. Love this message.