“When I was young, I wanted to change the world. As I got older, I wanted to change my community. Now that I am old, I wish to change myself”. When I first heard these words, I thought that the rabbi who had said them meant to convey the futility of changing the behavior of others. It seems to me he had something else in mind. I can not change the world by working on “them”. I can only do so by changing myself.
There is a wonderful article in the current issue of Runners World magazine about a young child who decides to run a mile with his father. The author, who is the boy’s father, with the totally appropriate name of Mark Parent, makes clear that he never encouraged his son to join him. Rather, almost as if by osmosis, his son, mirroring his father decided to be like his dad. Mr. Parent references an amazing study that demonstrates that change when other people view their friends and family making improvements in their own lives.
What a wonderful idea! Want to make the world a nicer place? Refrain from moralizing. Instead act nicer. Want your family to make healthier choices? Join a gym. Is your goal to spread spirituality? Start y becoming a more spiritual person. We get to help others by helping ourselves. Pass it on.