human nature

Random Reflections on Human Nature—From the Beach

I rarely go off the rails as a blogger. But this past month as I read, relaxed, and walked the beaches in Belize, it seemed that old truths became new again. Although no English teacher assigned me to write a 500-word essay on “What I Did on My Summer Vacation,” I made journal entries anyway.

Old truths warrant new attention from time to time—if for no other reason than to generate gratitude, or to initiate change, or to spark excitement. In no special order, here are those reflections:


Random Musings About Human Nature


Generosity and honesty are functions of character, not money.

At the end of their 7-day stay, the vacationers in cabin 8C at the resort where we stayed left without paying. As we started to check out, we saw the note left by the manager for the resort owner. Yet we’d see the couple take side-trips and tours every day there. Evidently, character, not lack of money, created the problem.

By contrast, when our maid learned how much we loved fresh snapper, she arranged for her fisherman friend to deliver some to her and offered to cook it for us—after her workday.


Many people work at extremely hard, dreary jobs for little pay.

Walking along the beach for 3 miles every morning, we saw workers sweep the seaweed away to leave the beach uncluttered—only to redo the same patch of ground in the evening. And the next day. And the next.

Then resort workers walked or bicycled to their various jobs early in the morning (a 45- to 60-minute trip in the heat), worked 8 hours, then trekked the same path home to take care of their own families’ needs.


The rich, just like the poor, struggle with inner demons.

A book that I’d been saving to read for months disappointed me. The first two-thirds of the book told of the author’s many accomplishments, financial rewards, and successful philosophies for life. But the last third wandered off into his four clinical depressions and the demons he still struggles to overpower every day.

Although I’m sure not the message the author intended to convey, the book underscores the truth that wealth does not satisfy. This rabbi author seemed to be searching for religious rituals to replace a personal relationship with God.


People are resourceful—especially when it comes to fun.

If you go there, check out the Thursday night Chicken Drop! Basically, the city sponsors have created a way to gamble with chicken droppings. Items necessary: A big game board with numbers (looks like a Bingo card inside a large cage). A chicken. Paper tickets.

People buy a $1 ticket for a number on the board. Someone turns the chicken loose in the cage. When it poops on a number, that ticket holder wins the jackpot—to much applause and celebration.

Creativity is on display wherever people wander—from wooden statutes carved from fallen tree trunks to empty stacked bottles and shells.

The United States remains a dream destination for many around the world.

Vanessa, a woman we met while there, told us she was looking for a new job as cashier in the ice cream shop. With the salary increase, she hopes to be able to continue to send her two boys, 12 and 14, to school. Unfortunately, they had to miss three years of school because she and her husband couldn’t afford to send them.

“How much is a hotel per night in America?” she asked.

I told her it varied by city, and gave her a few “average” prices. “Are you planning to come for a visit?”

“Yes. Yes, I am. As soon as I save enough money.”

“Are you bringing the whole family, or just you?” I thought she might have relatives in the states.

“No. Just me.” She smiled broadly. “It’s my dream.”


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