It’s day 31 for this blog and I have to admit I’m struggling to keep up, and running short on ideas for doing good. I’ve certainly given to a number of charities—already more $$ than in any past years—however 1) I have a finite amount of money and 2) I’d rather be doing.
Many volunteer opportunities want a recurring commitment, or happen during my regular work hours, and that makes it difficult. So I’m going to re-center over the next 30 days on the truly small, every day acts of good I can do in my life and for those around me.
Today, I’m simply sharing 3 stories that inspired or enlightened me this week.
The first is about a recent study showing that teen suicide attempts fell as same-sex marriage became legal. Kids kill themselves all the time in our country, and it almost seems like a no-brainer that if a society rejects a whole class of people or shames them for what they feel, kids in that group will learn to hate themselves. When a society does something like recognize same-sex marriage, it sends a powerful message to kids: we accept you, no matter what. That’s something parents understand about their own children, but somehow we as a society at large can’t extrapolate it to all of us.
One other story was about how a U.S. citizen and immigrant who was born in Somalia was just elected president of that country. It’s an astonishing story made all the more remarkable “because it came at the very moment a federal court in the U.S. was deciding the fate of a travel ban that targeted refugees exactly like him.” In fact, the story goes on, “the refugee-turned-president might just be one of the most powerful arguments against a travel ban like President Donald Trump’s, which would have barred Mohamed’s entry to the U.S.—it ultimately diminishes American influence abroad.”
The third story is in some ways related to this blog. I’ve never been much of an activist, or even a person who volunteers. I've wanted to be, but couldn't take the leap--not until DJT. I wouldn’t consider myself a do-gooder or a great person, on the whole. I’d consider myself to be a decent person, who is trying to do better and keep the balance of my life weighted toward the side of good. Most of us probably think of ourselves that way (except our president, who seems to believe he is perfect).
This story, though, is about how groups across the country are forming, in neighborhoods and communities big and small, of people taking real action to learn about today’s issues with first-hand experience. One example is about a neighborhood group where members invite undocumented immigrants from the neighborhood into their homes for dinner.
And larger groups like the women’s march or the March for Science, or all the “Stand up” themed groups, are heartening, too. People are realizing that we each need to literally stand up and take action beyond what we’ve done in the past to move forward now. I think it's shaking things up, and in four years, we'll be a different country, better off for it all.