The Do-Good Patrol: A Cautionary Tale of Teenagers Doing Good

While writing about snowball bush (cramp bark), I was reminded of a night-time escapade from my late teens and I was inspired to share the story. It has nothing to do with herbs or natural healing. But, at the same time, it illustrates why those things are important to me.

It started when I heard about some kids sneaking around at night, getting up to various mischief. As a teenager it sounded fun to stay up late at night, but the mischief part held no interest for me. So, I came up with an idea that involved the fun sneaking around bit, without all the mischief. I was going to establish the “Do-Good Patrol.”

Some of my friends joined in the plotting and we fleshed out the idea. We would take turns sleeping in each other’s backyards. And during the middle of the night we'd sneak out and do good deeds for people. The idea seemed magical and fun. We even thought of leaving a signature at the scene of the crime. We’d leave cutouts of a footprint and write “The Do-Good Patrol was here” on them. We imagined how some old lady would come out in the morning to the garden weeded or some other nice gesture, with only a footprint taped to the porch as evidence.

Our Trial Run

Snowball Bush

A trial run seemed in order. So, we chose the father of one from our group to be the first victim of our "prank." He was a single parent and his yard had some bushes that desperately needed trimming, including an overgrown snowball bush.

For the first attempt we chose to sleep in the backyard of my house and set an alarm for 2 a.m. It was hard to get one of our group to let the rest of us go to sleep, but we finally did, probably after midnight. The whole idea didn’t seem quite so appealing when the alarm woke us up in the wee hours of the morning. But we managed to shake the sleep from our eyes and escape out of my backyard.

We then snuck over to our friend’s house to work on those unkempt bushes. He also woke up and snuck outside to join us. However, we ran into a big problem. None of us had anticipated the amount of traffic at that time of the night. We had expected the streets to be empty. Instead, a car came by about every two or three minutes, forcing us to stop working and hide until it had passed. It was difficult and slow to work under those conditions.

We would have made it, except, our noises and muffled talking woke our friend’s Dad and the whole thing fell apart. He grumpily came to see what the noise was about. When he found us, he didn’t seem to find our explanation either satisfying or amusing. Instead, he ordered his son to get back in bed and told us to leave.

On the four-block journey back to my house, we continued hiding from passing cars while we considered what went wrong. We decided maybe we needed a change of strategy. Perhaps we should try just leaving a basket of goodies or something on the doorstep. That idea seemed a whole lot more feasible.

The Final Straw

When we reached my home, we thought the troubled part of our adventure was over, but we were wrong. As we started walking down my driveway, we were accosted by the two night watchmen. They had been hired to patrol the grounds of the fifteen-story apartment because some kids had been scaling the wall to go skinny dipping at night. And, when they saw a group of kids going into the backyard of a nearby house, they took it upon themselves to investigate.

First, I had to convince them that this was my house and that we were going into my backyard because we were sleeping out there. When they were satisfied with that portion of our explanation, they wanted to know where we’d been and what we’d been up to. At first, they didn't believe the tale of our botched do-good mission. However, when they realized we were telling the truth, they were amused. Still, they warned us not to try it again.

For me, that was enough. I felt like while the bad kids might get away with sneaking around at night, we were doomed to be caught. Thus ended the first and only mission of the not-so-illustrious Do-Good Patrol.

What's the Lesson?

Hopes, visions, and dreams signpostFor me, there is a lesson here. While there are a few mischief-makers, most of the people I know in the natural health business are trying to do good for people. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone else will recognize that fact, so opposition and setbacks are bound to occur.

My botched do-good patrol expedition might have ended my midnight escapades but it didn’t stop me from trying to do good in the world. Nor did it destroy my idealism. In a college class, another student told me that I was so idealistic that one day I would wind up very cynical because I would find out what the world was really like.

His prediction hasn’t come true. I’ll be 70 this year and despite having experienced plenty of problems and setbacks in my life I’m not cynical at all. More realistic perhaps, because I’m not blind to the problems. I see the problems in our society and still believe that we can do good. 

My hope and optimism are centered in my belief in God. I think by relying on God instead of ourselves we can obtain help through life’s difficulties and I ultimately believe that even the bad stuff we experience can work out for our good if our trust is placed in the Divine rather than the physical.

Because I have faith in ultimate goodness the spirit of the do-good patrol never really died in me. Maybe it still lives in my heart. Maybe I've been working to create my do-good patrol by working to teach other to help people heal, not only from physical disease, but also from trauma, abuse, and other mental and emotional problems.

Join Us

So, what do you think? Care to be a part of my do-good patrol? If so, keep learning and sharing this knowledge, and doing good deeds by helping people to heal physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You can even join up and become a supporting member. Perhaps it is just my idealistic nature, but together I believe we can do a lot of good.

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