This I Believe

Jennifer - Maple Grove, Minnesota
Entered on April 26, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in tidiness.

My philosophy may not be earth-shattering, but there it is. Some people are leave-things-lying-arounders, and some people are tidiers. I’m a tidier. If I see a paperclip lying on the floor of my classroom, I’ll pick it up and put it away. If I see a piece of trash in the hallway, I’ll pick it up and throw it away. If my husband leaves his glass by the computer, as he is wont to do, I will pick it up and put it in the dishwasher. Mind you, I don’t make picking things up my goal in life, but if something is out of place, I’ll put it in place.

This philosophy is one I espouse to others, too. Now, I’m not out to make the world neatniks, but the amount of trash lying around bothers me. I pick things up as I walk around, but I don’t want to. I try to teach my students to leave the space they occupy in a better condition than when they arrived in it, and if they do, the world will get better. Does it matter if they weren’t the ones who made the space messy? No. It’s our world, and I’m a part of it, so I help out. True, this philosophy could be a bigger metaphor—don’t leave before fixing a bad relationship or taking care of unfinished work—but even if the space is just devoid of garbage, our future looks better.

Why is tidiness important? The next time you drive in your car, look on the side of the road. See the garbage? How long has it been here? How long will it be there? What kind of an effect will it have on the landscape in its time as litter? A tidy person, I keep a bag for garbage in my car so I don’t dump my trash outside. I hope we all start trying to leave the space we occupy in better condition than when we arrived. I want to drive on that road and walk down that hallway.