Last week, I had the privilege of giving the “charge” to a new pastor, as part of his ordination service. For those who aren’t steeped in Presbyterian tradition, a charge is like a toast made at a wedding: it should be brief and include a good balance of humor and wisdom, referencing things most everyone in the room will nod and smile at, while saying something both helpful and meaningful for the subject of the toast, er, charge.

On this occasion, I used the old Boy Scout charge, “Leave this place better than you found it.” Who doesn’t need to hear that? Those words are a huge reason why I started this website (and by “started” I mean asked my husband to design and build, and then I began typing). My hobbies, my past-times, the ways I volunteer my time – all are my attempts at being better (whatever that is). If my children learn nothing else from me, I think I’d be satisfied (although if they could learn this and remember to hang up their wet towels, that would be nice, too).

When I was a camp counselor (the summer after college), and first heard this phrase, I absentmindedly took it to mean “clean up after yourself.” At the most, it might mean pick up any other litter you see, while picking up your own. But that’s not really better, is it?

Now, as a parent, I focus a lot on recycling and upcycling, appreciating what we have rather than always wanting more, and giving back as much, if not more, than we give to ourselves. On the surface, that appears to be a step in the right direction … but it’s still pointed in my direction.

I can do better.


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