From tiny acorns do giant oaks grow

We tend not to notice small acts of kindness and appreciate the tiny and often selfless contributions that individuals make in our workaday lives.  We talk big.  At the same time, we are losing sense of our responsibility each to other as co-citizens.

That is when where peace once was, discord, mistrust and hostility reign.  That is when a small and harmonious society that once was begins to disintegrate.  We lose our strength.  We become increasingly vulnerable.

Change is good.  Change is bad.  What is important is that we must be able to preserve and propagate the best of values that define us as Bhutanese.

In Trashigang, a group of parents come together to help build a fence around an early learning centre in Kanglung.  An elderly woman in Paro cleans a clogged drain by the roadside.  A little girl in Thimphu picks up rubbish along the road, because her teacher told her that it is a good habit.  A little boy in Phuentsholing helps an elderly man cross a busy road …

Such good human values are increasingly becoming few and far between in our small society today.  We live in strange and difficult neighbourhoods where a family does not know who lives next door, where parents constantly worry about the safety of their children.

“Where we live must be clean, safe, organised, and beautiful, for national integrity, national pride, and for our bright future. This too is nation building,” said His Majesty the King.

It is not necessary that we become dashos and lyonpos and tycoons to build our nation.  As individuals, we can contribute in our small ways to make our neighbourhoods not just clean and beautiful, but also safe and organised and peaceful.  We do not have to be powerful politicians to be able to build a nation that we can all be proud of.

A farmer in a remote village in the east lays a slab of stone over the broken path that villagers use to get to the road head.  This too is nation building.  What is a nation if not the reflection of its people’s worth?

Development has brought us where we are today.  We have better roads, better health and better education.  Our economy is stronger than it was just a few years ago, and we are today by far better off citizens.

As nation-builders, it is incumbent on each one of us to nurture and foster the good old Bhutanese values that are on the verge of disappearing today.  What we got from our forebears, we must give to our posterity – our peaceful nation, our harmonious nation, our proud nation.

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