“Everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants to change the toilet paper.”


I don’t know who came up with this clever saying, but truer words probably were never written.

It is a minor, little, ordinary, every day act. But a necessary act, nonetheless. And yes, there are others in the household who will put the roll on the holder for you. Will the world end if you, yourself, don’t get the roll on the holder? Well, no. The Earth will keep spinning, even if the t.p. doesn’t.

But it’s the principle of the matter.

Overlook a minor, little, ordinary, every day act day after day and it becomes easy to overlook the big tasks like taking the trash to the curb, or changing the oil in your truck. And that’s how you wind up with a smelly house and a blown engine.

Similarly, in our ordinary lives we are plagued with a dozen broad issues every day that demand our immediate attention and outrage. And we flit from one to the next with every click of the mouse and scroll of our thumb.

Everyone has these grand ideas for how we need to change the world for the better—more cows, fewer cows; more oil and less ethanol, more ethanol and less oil; more trade negotiations, less negotiation; and on and on. Everything presented in a black and white, us versus them, 240-character Tweet, 2-minute video clip, or oversimplified meme.

But while we’re all getting riled up over here about fake meat and who Tweeted what on the national stage, we forget the little stuff. The daily tasks and topics that we should be paying attention to every day to leave our corner of the world a little better than we found it.

What’s going on in our own backyards, right this instant? And what can we do about it?

It’s all fine and dandy to argue about grand infrastructure spending, but how does that help your roads and bridges leading to your farm today?

Sure, have a thoughtful conversation about student loans and the U.S. Department of Education, but do you know the lesson plans at your local school? Have you gone to a parent-teacher meeting and asked about where they’re getting their agricultural information for those lessons?

Yes, be passionate about animal agriculture and a farmer’s right to raise livestock and a consumer’s right to eat meat. But, while you’re at it, what’s being served at your neighbor’s house when your kids are staying the night? What’s being preached in your church and in your Sunday school classes? What’s your doctor telling her patients about diet and nutrition?

And when you get those answers, you have two choices.

Sit on a throne and Tweet about it. Or get up and change the roll.

Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807 or jlatzke@hpj.com.

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