The protests that are taking place in numerous parks across America have caused me to reflect on certain of my personal views about stewardship. There are many factors that one could dwell on about such protests in general, but I have found myself thinking in particular about the wear and tear on those park properties where the protests are taking place, and the work and cost that lie ahead for repair of damages and re-beautification of those areas.
The word stewardship can be used in a general sense as taking on the responsibility of caring for something belonging to someone else. Although there has always been a minority of persons in America and throughout the world who either do not understand stewardship or choose not to embrace its action, I believe that the vast majority of people are practicing stewardship of our land in positive ways both small and great, and for those persons I am giving thanks.
The desire for being a good steward of the land was instilled in me from childhood on up. My father helped plant the trees in our small community park when he was still a young man. There was no water supply there at that time, so for many years during warmer weather he transported water in cream cans in order to keep the trees alive until they had become well established.
I am giving thanks that my parents cared deeply about the value and good maintenance of both private and public property, thereby setting a good example for all members of our family.
My small hometown community was very conservation minded. After I married and moved to another state, the values I learned from those community leaders and my family worked for my benefit as it became my turn to provide leadership to various student and community groups. I well remember how often my 4-H club with 70+ members went on park-cleaning expeditions. My church does that now in the parks within the community where it is located, and the members of the church are often joined by other groups who give their assistance in this endeavor.
Today I am giving thanks for the thousands of helping hands that are put to use during the patrolling of community parks on an annual basis so that refuse can be picked up and disposed of in a proper manner.
Throughout most of my adult life my family has camped in private, state and national campgrounds all across our country and in Canada. We have considered it to be both a responsibility and a blessing to join with fellow campers in maintaining the cleanliness of those places. I marvel at the vast number of people across our nation that regularly place refuse containers around parks and in campgrounds, and then cart away the litter and tidy things up for others.
Today I am giving thanks for the many beautiful camping facilities that I have enjoyed, and for those who have worked so hard to keep them in that condition.
Here in Minnesota there is always a supply of willing individuals who commit to cleaning up ditches along our roadways. It is not unusual to see groups of volunteers wearing safety vests out patrolling their section of public property and performing clean-up duties. They diligently fill large plastic bags with refuse and conveniently pile those bags in such a way that they can be collected and transported to a refuse area.
Today I am giving thanks for the many individuals who help to beautify our cities and counties in states across the nation by volunteering to clean roadside areas.
I’ve had so many positive experiences throughout the years in regards to seeing good conservation practices being carried out by private citizens that I refuse to become discouraged even when seeing willful neglect of park property taking place by a fringe group of individuals. Sadly, some people will never do their part in keeping our nation clean and beautiful – and yes, the rest of us could likely do even better.
However, I continue to believe that the requirement bestowed on citizens of a free and prospering republic to be good stewards of the land is not lost among the vast majority of citizens. Most of us will continue to place our trash in the proper receptacles and pick up here and there after those who don’t. In addition, I believe that the majority of us will willingly obey the posted signage in public areas that we encounter along the way.
So today, for those countless citizens who do understand and willingly practice good stewardship of this beautiful and precious land called America, I am giving my deep, heartfelt thanks.
Source: Personal experience