Today, with Hurricane Irma barreling through Florida, while South Texas and eastern Louisiana struggle to dig out after Harvey, along with major fires in four states, I stopped to wonder. I wondered what it would take for Americans to pull together again and stop all this hate and vitriol.
Nothing like a disaster to pull people together and bring out their best and most generous. Do I wish for disasters? Of course not.
I just wonder why until there is a disaster, though, we are angry with each other, divided and a small part of the population are givers and volunteers or people who are generous with their spirit and time every day.
What if everyone made it a point to give in their own way, even in small ways, every day?
What would be the impact on our country?
– Would politicians work harder to work with the opposition?
– Would children do better in school?
– Would our food chain be healthier?
– Would we be healthier?
– Would we know our neighbors?
– Would our roads and waterways have less litter?
– Would we see less crime?
– Would we be more prosperous?
All those are idealistic questions of course. I want to believe if everyone is contributing in some way to the issues that drive our passions that life would be better in our country.
In the past, I have felt overwhelmed, like deer in the headlights, on where to contribute. So many ideas float through my head, and I’m passionate about many causes that can improve the human condition.
President Kennedy was a true visionary for which our country should be grateful. After his famous inauguration speech on January 20, 1961, many college students were inspired to go into volunteer work for international aid organizations like the Peace Corps. Others changed their majors to sociology to be of service here in the United States. All these people, who are mostly in their 70’s, were in great service to the country, offering selfless contributions that define their lives.
While his vision was big for what you can do for your country, I also firmly believe you can make a difference for the United States right where you are. For if we all take small, consistent steps, we can become a mighty force. However, not all of us can leave our everyday lives and join a service organization for several years. Not all of us can spare a few hours a week for volunteer work.
Here are a few actions you can take to do something for your neighborhood, your community, your country.
– visit a neighbor who may be suffering or is more isolated
– drive someone to an appointment who can’t drive
– bring items to a food drive or food pantry
– extend trust to someone you have not trusted in the past
– reach out to someone who has lost a loved one, more than once after the funeral
– write a letter to your editor.
You can also start with your own family. Even taking steps to reach out to family members goes a long way to create peace, bring harmony and good feelings to your life. I have a cousin in Florida that I don’t know very well, but I made sure to reach out to him before the hurricane and will follow up with him in a day or two to see how he is doing.
The feeling of a sense of belonging when you reach out to family members is important to us as human beings. We thrive on connection. Our generosity is a way to strengthen that connection.