Lessons Learned From a Child

I hope you don't mind if I do some shameless bragging. It’s not about me, but my daughter.

Sunday night, she was honored, along with eight other young women in our community, for achieving Girl Scouts' (search) highest honor, the Gold Award -- their equivalent of Boy Scouting's Eagle Award.

All the girls worked a lot of hours over a lot of years doing a lot of good. One set up a campaign to find business clothes for women who couldn't afford them, another provided sports equipment for underprivileged kids, and in the case of my daughter, she set up a community Web site to help people find lost pets.

I'm not just saying this as a proud dad, but as an impressed adult: these kids lived the Gold Award rule to "make the world a better place."

But what impressed me most through the myriad of dignitaries and speakers, was one local public official who suggested the girls' good deeds have a way of contagiously growing, spurring other good deeds, other good works and other good responses. Some already had.

I thought about that and the notion so many of us, when we're young, want to change the world. It took these remarkable girls for me to realize, we can do so incrementally -- sort of like throwing a rock into a pond and then seeing the rippling waters that develop.

Now, making sure a woman who can't afford a fancy dress has one for that big job interview, won't rock the world. And assuring a little boy via a Web site that he might track down his lost Dalmatian, won't stun the world. But each will improve the world in ways that go way beyond the dollars and cents we value so much in life, to the common sense and decency that make for a far more enriching life.

You know, we all want our kids to do well. Leave it to my daughter to remind me, that it is a lot more important is to do good.

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