I HAVE just written to Amazon's big boss Jeff Bezos. I wrote: "Dear Mr Bezos, you have done an amazing job creating the world’s most successful company [got to fluff up the ego at the start]. You have the power to use that money to save the rain forest. You would be a living superhero and would go down in history as the world’s greatest philanthropist.

You could save the world for future generations. Let me know what you think.

Yours in anticipation, Miranda Moore (a customer)".

Yes, I actually sent it. I’m not holding my breath for a reply, but you never know.

I’m all for the Olympics. Folks prancing about on a horse – it’s inspiring stuff. OK, dressage might not be for me personally but increasingly it’s falling to our sportsmen and women, our pop stars, actors and activists to be role models. The Games were great, not just for watching in awe as those rare humans managed to accomplish superhuman feats, but for producing excellent and inspiring role models.

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For surely the kind-heartedness and sportsmanship shown during the recent Olympics was every bit as valuable as the performances themselves. It is so much more impressive when athletes compete not just for personal gain and gratification, and instead conduct themselves with humility.

We want to create an aspirational, can-do society, don’t we? By ‘aspirational’ I don’t mean parents should all be working full time. I mean we inspire young people to aim to be the best they can be, to be useful and give to society, and to work toward their dreams, rather than adopt a can’t-do, better-not-rise-above-my-station attitude. Why be average when you can be good?

The British triathlon team displayed genuine joy for each other – and several had overcome injuries and challenges to get there. They gave us more than gold and silver medals – they gave us tenacity, modesty and sharing in others’ successes.

The Italian and Qatari sharers of the joint gold for the men’s high jump too exhibited goodwill on choosing to tie rather than opting for a jump-off. And Simone Biles, meanwhile, showed that mental health is more important than winning.

And remember the nice story from the first lockdown, that Ed Sheeran was paying all his restaurant staff full wages? Decent lad. And of course roll out the carpet for Marcus Rashford and many, many others.

HeraldScotland: Jeff BezosJeff Bezos

It seems that in a world in which politicians and business leaders are failing to inspire, we must look to our sports stars to step up to the job of role model.

I don’t honestly believe we’ve ever had a less inspiring crop of people in the Cabinet at Westminster. They demonstrate little compassion for the common person whom they are privileged to represent. Where are the Obamas? We desperately need more responsible and inspiring politicians, and to give greater profile to the existing inspiring ones (yes, there are decent ones – honestly, there are).

Sadly, the highest profile names in business are similarly failing to inspire. Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk rocketing into the sky, as the world burns, is nauseating.

Herald reader Denis Bruce hit the nail on the head in a recent letter: “To praise [them] for fulfilling their adolescent fantasies and to dress them up as the future suggests a total lack of understanding of what our planet needs and is buying into the mindset which has brought us to the parlous state of affairs we are witnessing.”

There are, of course, inspiring businesspeople by the truckload – Bill and Melinda Gates, social enterprises, mainstream businesses embracing social responsibility (and I’m not talking about the ones that just greenwash their public profile) – but we don’t hear enough about them. We ought to amplify their work and their voices.

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“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future,” said George Bernard Shaw. I don’t imagine he’d think much of our current leaders in Westminster, nor of the world’s richest man.

Like a peacock fanning its feathers, we make a huge show of achievement. We binge on brilliance. We indulge ourselves on excellence. This is all good. Celebrate success, inspire the young, create aspirations.

But if we want to instil a sense of community, of care, of responsibilities together with rights; if we want to raise a generation of people who have empathy, and joint interests at heart, we should celebrate, on a bigger stage, the common, everyday folk who make life better for other people and other things.

We should pay our care workers more. The good folk you see exhibiting more patience than most of us display in a month. The people who don’t jump up and down demanding recognition, but who smile with well-earned pride when someone stops to give it. Competitiveness and individual pursuit of success are overrated in our society. Kindness, courage and cooperation are underrated.

Celebrate kindness, caring for others, empathy, respect, manners. Pause in any decent nursery or primary and you’ll see this in evidence. It’s embedded in Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence as one of the four capacities (responsible citizens). But it’s a whisper in a hailstorm if the people we’re parading as role models to our children exhibit arrogance, egotism and a lack of respect for others.

We need strong figures to celebrate and emulate, who are moral – not meek; ethical but not dull; tenacious but not supercilious; who have integrity and charisma. There are plenty.

So three cheers for those good-hearted Olympians inspiring our children to want to go out and try a new sport or overcome something they thought they couldn’t.

A Kindness Olympics might be a contrived idea, but higher profile celebrating of the people in our societies who work tirelessly for the benefit of others would surely be a good thing.

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