Monday, September 21, 2009

Self-serve Peace

Today is the International Day of Peace. If only every day were Peace Day. So, what are you going to do to be peaceful today?

I'm thinking that trust and respect are pretty reliable cornerstones upon which to build a peace-filled world. I discussed respect today with a hundred-or-so school kids from Spring Green, Wisconsin, and I asked for three examples of ways they can be respectful and promote peace.

"Do your homework," said a fourth-grader. And the other kids agreed that this would create some peace with teachers, parents, and themselves, because they just might learn something.

The next mischievous-looking kid said, "Don't chuck rocks at birds." Pretty much all were in support of refraining from chucking rocks at people, animals, windows, moving vehicles, (or an
ything for that matter) as a decent move towards respect.

The last suggestion was from a kindergartener
who simply said, "Type." After a bit of cross-examination she came out with, "Like on a computer." And the group decided that typing a letter to your grandma or typing a love note was a pretty good way to promote peace.

So we just need to round out these great suggestions for respect with an example of trust. And I found one -- a particularly impressive exercise in trust at a small farm on a gorgeous country road on the outskirts of Cumberland, WI.

Hustad's Sugar Bush make
s and sells 100% maple syrup. They've got a little gift shop right there on their property east of town. But when the Hustads aren't around, they have a self-serve window where you can grab some bottles or jugs of syrup and leave your check or cash.

I love this kind of trust. Just pull what you need off of the shelf and put your money in a slot in the wood. And, if you need it, there's a little plastic container with some one-dollar bills and some coins where you can make change.

I'm guessing that for the few times they've been ripped off, the Hustads have made up for it by the stream of customers who have left extra money just because they were impressed that they were shown respect enough to be trusted.

Wouldn't we all be better off with this kind of trust? I'm a strong believer that if you live a life of trust, you rarely -- if ever -- get burned. And even if you do, you can rest knowing that what goes around, comes around. Call it karma, call it what you will.

If only we all had the peace of mind and the trust of a Hustad.

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