I believe that all life is precious. This includes every living thing. Every creation, animate or inanimate, throughout time and space are interconnected and have value to each other.

I don’t kill a snake that’s minding his own business, even if it is poisonous. I feel sorrow and loss when I am unable to avoid a squirrel while driving and see it injured in the rearview mirror. I am furious when I see others abuse animals or children.

Lest you think I am some tree hugging pansy, I love hunting and fishing. I cull roosters and old hens from my flock and process them to provide chicken dinners or cat food, wasting little. I process pork and venison to make tasty table fare. I kill wasps over the front or back door for my wife’s safety and peace of mind but leave those in my tool shed alone, even though I have been stung. That wasp was justified. I stuck my hand in his front door.

In my mind, there is no contradiction in this. Life is constantly a cycle of birth and death, creation and destruction. I respect that.

One thing confounds people of goodwill like me, that humans alone seem capable of unreasoning cruelty or justifying motivations that are counter to our survival as a race. Segments of the human race are guilty of genocide, destruction of the environment, selling drugs that poison bodies and minds, enslaving and selling men, women, and children, bringing to a premature extinction of other species, and perpetrating wars upon our fellow man for profit. Man can be very, very bad.

Many books, TV shows, and movies have covered the “what if” an alien life form came to Earth and studied our planet. In most cases, they conclude we are a violent and destructive race of beings not worthy of association. And who could blame them? Some might say we are a world plagued by insane people. I doubt I could leave fast enough if I were in their place.

Painting such a bleak picture of our world would be inexcusable if I didn’t pass on a positive note and possible remedy. Most of us, as individuals, feel that we aren’t going to bring about significant changes affecting many. What each of us can do are small things every day to nudge things back in the right direction.

Since I was in my early twenties, I’ve had the idea that we are constantly creating a ripple effect on the world around us through our thoughtful or unthoughtful actions. A kind word here, counting to ten to quell anger, a heartfelt “thank you”, or anything else to make others feel valued and understood goes a long way. Bringing a good attitude to your associations and taking the time to meditate or pray for better times and good results does have an effect. Do not despair if things don’t go your way. Make the best of what you have, and never give up.

You may think that your good attitude and actions do not affect the farmer in China or the laborer in Greenland, but it does. It may be so small as to be undetectable, but imagine what life would be like if every person on earth went all day in despair, was not polite to others, and had nothing but bad thoughts all day. Random acts of kindness and goodwill cost you nothing; there is everything to gain.

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