Think, Act

Published: August 8, 2008

By Jim Lichtman
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It began with a one-minute TV commercial – one stranger helps another who helps another who helps another.

Insurance giant Liberty Mutual wanted to get people to think about personal responsibility.  (And to be fair, they also want to create a lot more interest in their company.)

But, the reaction to this memorable concept commercial has been thousands of messages thanking the company for reminding them what we all need to remember – that we are all interdependent on one another.

It’s a great idea.

The message is clear, personal, and makes it easier to consider that each of us has the power to practice moments of responsibility in our own lives.  Whether it’s helping the young, old, the disadvantaged, all of us are capable of doing more.

Then, they came up with an even better idea!

According to their website, “…we created a series of short films… as an exploration of what it means to do the right thing.”

Under the navigational link “What’s your policy?” they ask, “What’s your idea of a responsible _____________?

It’s up to the visitor to fill in the blank with choices ranging from parent, employee, manager, friend, spouse, politician, or your own category.

When I filled in the blank with “person,” it pulled up the following:

“What’s your idea of a responsible person?” followed by reader’s comments:

“being able to communicate openly and honestly; giving the respect, trust, support, and understanding we would expect from others.

“taking responsibility for your actions, caring about other people, treating other people even strangers fairly and kindly without prejudice.

When I filled in the blank with “co-worker,” it pulled up:

“listening and then responding not reacting—not only to a co-worker, yet to each person I come into contact with.”

“What’s your idea of a responsible politician?

“listening to the voters, but at the same time doing what you believe is best for the nation, state, or county which you represent.

“…putting… people’s issues, burdens, and plights above all else and all others.

“telling the truth, even if the truth is painful to hear; being a practical problem solver and not a pandering carnival barker.”

With all the mindless internet chatter and clutter, it’s refreshing to find a website that encourages each of us to think a little more critically, and live our lives with a lot more awareness.

“We believe,” the home page says, “that the more people think and talk about responsibility, and even debate what it means, the more it can affect how we live our daily lives.”

That’s a concept we can all agree on.


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