My friend Lois has an idea on how to make the world a better place.

She wonders what the world would be like if people all over the world approached each other and asked one simple question: What can I do for you today?

Israel President Shimon Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize winner from a war-torn area of the world, spoke at North Iowa Area Community College in 1999. He told his audience the world would be better off if countries worked to make their neighbors stronger, not weaker.

“It doesn’t make sense to help them become poor. It makes sense to help them become rich,” he said. And then he added,

“Whether we have a first-class ticket or a third-class ticket, we’re all on the same ship.”

The Rev. Steve Johnson of Mason City recently told a story about a conversation theologian Max Lucado had with his 6-year-old daughter.

She was unimpressed with what he did for a living.

Lucado explained to her that it was his job to provide good news to people, to comfort them, to lead them in the right direction and to try to make them happy and content.

The little girl thought for a moment and said, “Why don’t you sell snow cones?”

As we begin a new year, I wonder if there are things each of us can do personally to make the world a better place.

And I agree with Lois. A good start would be to ask “What can I do for you today?”

And, as Peres pointed out, there is something to be said for trying to make the weak stronger rather trying to make them weaker.

But, as is so often the case, sometimes adults waste a lot of words explaining a philosophy that a child can say succinctly in one sentence.

So here’s a New Year’s resolution for me — and for you if you want to give it a try.

How about if each of us, figuratively, in our own way, makes an effort to sell a few snow cones next year?

Reach John Skipper at 421-0537 or

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