What do we owe each other?



What do we owe each other? It’s a densely multi-layered question. Certainly, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it’s a question that many countries in the world are grappling with at this moment. It’s an immense geo-political question. But it’s a social question, too. And, to put even a finer point on it, it’s a personal question.


So, let's go there. I have a two-part challenge for you. Let me start by giving you a few personal questions to think about.

  • What do you owe to the world?

  • What do you owe your community?

  • What do you owe your friends?

  • What do you owe your family?

  • What do you owe yourself?

I encourage you to take some time and consider your answers honestly, in a genuine spirit of conversation with a trusted friend. Just go ahead. Answer. Don’t give it too much time – say you take five minutes total – but give it a shot. And really be as honest as you can. No one will see this but you.


Okay, well done. Put those answers aside. Remember, this is just a thought experiment, and it’s only for you.


Here’s the second part. Again, let me ask you a few personal questions. Again, I encourage you to take a few minutes as you go, and give some consideration to your answers. So, go ahead, answer. As before, say you take four or five minutes – but give it a sincere shot. And, be as honest as you can. No one will see this but you. Here’s the second set.

  • What does the world owe you?

  • What does your community owe you?

  • What do your friends owe you?

  • What does your family owe you?

  • What do you owe yourself?

So, how did that go? Any revelations? No? Any connections? Maybe? Anything to think about ? Yes?

I have no “ah-ha” conclusion for you. I have no "Ah! You got it right." This is just a practice -- just a practice for you. But I will tell you this. Here, in this world, like it or not, we live in community with each other – with our family, our friends. Most important, we have to live with ourselves. Wherever we are. And wherever we are, we are surrounded by others -- others just like us. We are each other. We are you. You are us.

So, let me offer this question to you so you may think about it again. What do we owe each other?

Peace and love to you in the week ahead.