So our assignment for Thursdays is to “give back.” I purposely put this assignment AFTER the day that we “give thanks” because it’s a lot easier to give back when we are already mindful of our blessings. This assignment is all about “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Another way to think about it is as follows:
1) What do you care deeply about?
2) If you think somebody should do something about it, be that somebody. (Not my original thought – rather from the “5” book).
You have heard all of the big stories like Yunus’ micro-loans to impoverished bamboo weavers that lifted them from poverty and won him a Nobel prize. But I suggest we start substantially smaller, at least at the beginning. Is there one thing that you care about that you could help make better? That’s where you start. Further, I suggest that you give back in a way that has meaning for you – if you have lots of money, yes, your money could help, but what about your time or talent? Would that help more?
This is more than just philanthropy in the conventional sense; it’s about engagement.
Several years ago, a speaker came to our children’s high school. He was a psychologist from a local institution that specialized in treating mental illness; and he worked with teens that had gotten on the wrong track (drugs, alcohol, etc.). He had a lot of good advice and statistics about the kids he sees in his practice, but the most interesting thing to me was that he said, at the end of it all – rich or poor, smart or not so smart – at the end of the day, what these kids – and he suggested, all of us – were searching for REALLY, was connection and meaning. It wasn’t about what sort of clothes they wore, what sort of car they drove, what sort of house they lived in or family they came from – at the bottom of it all – they were searching for connection and meaning.
I propose that you can find connection and meaning by giving back. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
By the way, the guy in the picture at the top is Thor, the Norse god of thunder. The name “Thursday” comes from the Old English, Thunor’s Day. So, now you know. 🙂