A skateboarder tries out a new ramp on the Hopi reservation. (Brandon Nahsonhoya via AP)

A skateboarder tries out a new ramp on the Hopi reservation. (Brandon Nahsonhoya via AP)

Hopi youth raised money to build their skate spot. (Brandon Nahsonhoya via AP)

Hopi youth raised money to build their skate spot. (Brandon Nahsonhoya via AP)

Jacque Thorpe, left, and Terrill Humeyestewa take a break from skateboarding on the Hopi reservation. (Paul Molina via AP)

Jacque Thorpe, left, and Terrill Humeyestewa take a break from skateboarding on the Hopi reservation. (Paul Molina via AP)

Maintaining roads is one of the ways that governments support the common good. (AP/Jeff Roberson)

Maintaining roads is one of the ways that governments support the common good. (AP/Jeff Roberson)

Volunteers pick up trash in Key Biscayne, Florida. Volunteering is one way that you can help others. (AP/Wilfredo Lee)

Volunteers pick up trash in Key Biscayne, Florida. Volunteering is one way that you can help others. (AP/Wilfredo Lee)

Skating . . . for the Common Good

Posted: November 1, 2022

Many Hopi people live in 12 villages on three Arizona mesas (flat-topped mountains). Even in the modern United States, they have kept their traditional Hopi language alive. In the Hopi language, they talk about sumi’nangwa. That is a heartfelt desire to come together for the good of the whole community.

That’s what the kids did when they built the skate park. “I hope this will inspire other youth groups to try and do something like this to make the Hopi community a better place for the future generations of our people,” says Quintin “Q” Nahsonhoya. He helped lead the project.

Philosophers might describe the idea of sumi’nangwa as the common good. (Are you philosophical? Philosophers are people who think about the world’s biggest questions. Stuff like, What is the soul? What is a person? What makes life good?) When a philosopher (or just a regular person!) asks about “the common good,” he or she means, What is best for everyone?

Officials support the common good when they build parks, maintain roads, hire police, provide courts and judges, start schools, and create museums. These services benefit everyone in a community.

Each of us has a private life—the life we live at home with our families, doing what we enjoy and what matters to us. But we are also part of public life. How do we act “for the common good”? We obey laws, pay taxes, recycle, and show kindness to those we disagree with. What other actions could lead to the common good? What work does God call you to do for the good of others?

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. — Luke 6:31