Paying it forward

pay it forward

Years back there was a movie called Pay it Forward. The concept was simple, do something nice for someone and instead of having them return the favor, tell them to pay it forward by doing something nice for others. The movie was good and except for a couple of overly sentimental scenes very enjoyable. It certainly delivered its message. Make the world a better place by passing on kindness.

Can you make the world a better place just by being nice?

I think you can. I think that people do it every day. Passing on small kindnesses of all types – from giving directions to giving a few bucks to somebody who’s hungry. In fact, without the small random acts of kindness that we give and receive every day, I think the world would be a much darker place.

Make no mistake, it won’t have the immediate impact that the release of the new iPhone has (although you’d think it should) but if we all did one more nice thing a day it would certainly improve our outlook – on ourselves and the world around us. What’s not to love in that idea?

How do I pay it forward?

I try to be nice to everybody. That doesn’t always work out. But I try. But my go-to way of paying it forward is with food. I love to cook. I love to cook too much. So I am constantly giving away food. Make a big pot of soup, I keep some, then give the rest to friends, co-workers and favorite merchants. Around the holidays I bake cookies and deliver them to the local post office, fire station, food banks, my mechanic, my co-workers, and friends. It’s not much but it brightens their day and mine.

A couple of weeks ago I went grocery shopping and I was stopped by a man who asked for a couple of dollars so he could buy a sandwich at Subway. He was middle-aged, dressed in clean but old clothes and had a nervous, flitting glance. In under two minutes he told me his life story – had a drug and alcohol problem, been clean for two years, living on disability but looking for work – most of his check went to rent. I gave him a few bucks. He thanked me profusely. I told him to pay it forward. That when he was on his feet, to help somebody else out. I don’t know why but I’ve thought about that guy every day since. I’ve wondered how he’s doing. I’ve wondered if he got his sandwich. I’ve wondered if he did something nice for somebody else lately. I wish him well and hope things are looking up for him.

A couple of months ago, a friend asked me to read his manuscript and give him feedback. He agreed to read my manuscript and give me feedback as well. I’ve done a lot of critiques, so to me it wasn’t that big a deal. I stayed up that night and read the whole thing – taking notes as I went. The next day I wrote up my critique and sent it off. Then I didn’t hear from him. It worried me. I feared I’d offended him. Then I just didn’t know. Finally, I let it go. I’d done what I could, sent it out in the world and I realized I didn’t need to know the fate of my action. Recently, I heard back from my friend (knock me over with a feather) and it was good news. He was pleased with the feedback and thanked me – also had some nice things to say about my work. I felt good. He felt good. Somewhere in the universe things were being paid forward or sideways or some way. It was a feel-good thing. And I thought that we should all do this more often.

How do you pay it forward?

So I’m wondering – how do you pay it forward? Or do you believe in such things? I know things have been rough for all of us in the last few years. The economy, the job situation, everything seems to get more and more expensive. Often, we’re working a lot harder for a lot less. It’s easy to feel cynical under those conditions. Easy to feel like people are trying to exploit what few resources you have by asking for a favor or some free advice.

But I believe that one of the biggest joys in life lies in helping other people. In big and small ways. Often the cost of brightening someone else’s day is very small and really can make a difference.

And isn’t that what we all want in our heart of hearts? To make a difference? Does it have to be a huge difference for it to count? Or can we just be happy in the knowledge that because of us, somebody had dinner today? Or because of us, a little girl laughed, or an elderly couple didn’t have to stand so long in line because you let them cut ahead of you?

My offer to pay it forward

So, in the spirit of this post I’d like to make an offer to pay it forward to you, out there, reading this post. I can’t offer you soup because it just doesn’t travel well in the virtual world but I can offer to do a manuscript critique. Short story, script, poem, or novel – doesn’t matter what type. I’d be happy to help anybody out there who’d like some honest feedback on their manuscript. Since I’m not a superhero I can make this offer to three people. So, if you’re interested in taking me up on it, leave a comment and let me know.

In the meantime, thanks for reading and may we all make the world a better place, one little random act of kindness at a time.

Writer Chick

Copyright 2014

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10 Things That Will Never Go Out of Style

grace

A smile. Whether you’ve got perfect white teeth or a mouthful of metal, when you smile at someone they will smile back. And you’ve given them just a little something they didn’t have before.

A helping hand. Helping someone just because they need it and there is nothing in it for you

Blue jeans. No explanation needed

Good manners. We were all taught to say please and thank you as kids and just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you’ve outgrown the lesson. Good manners are the lubricant of a civilized society.

Kindness. It doesn’t hurt, costs nothing and can make a difference to the person who receives it.

Stories. As long as humans roam the Earth there will always be stories to tell and tell again. It’s the way we share history, beliefs, traditions and our feelings.

Love. There is not a creature on Earth that doesn’t respond to love and acceptance.

America. No matter how many groups, people or politicians criticize this country – we are still unique and value personal liberties and freedom more than any other nation on Earth. And really if all the naysaying were true – would millions of people risk life and limb just to try to get here?

Beauty. Not just physical human beauty. The perfect the sunset, a painting that inspires emotion, a perfectly executed dance, a meal cooked to perfection, babies laughing, flowers sprouting in the snow. We are surrounded by beauty – we only have to open our eyes.

Grace. Webster’s defines grace as: disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency. Although there are other definitions it is this kind of grace that I reference. To be kind, to show courtesy and understanding when you don’t have to. To forgive when others have wronged you. To carry on despite impossible circumstances. That is the kind of grace I hope to embody someday.

What are your top ten things that will never go out of style?

Writer Chick

Waiting for All to be Right with the World

waiting for all to be right with the worldI started this blog so that (among other things) I would commit to writing every day. I knew I needed discipline and this blog was the ways and means to obtain that discipline.

And I did it.

For the first four years, come rain or shine, happy or sad – I wrote.

Then somewhere along the way I stopped. I looked around and noticed most bloggers weren’t posting everyday. So why should I? I posted less.

Then things happened.

I moved.

I got engaged.

We broke up.

I moved again. And again. And again.

Then the economy.

I still wrote. I still blogged. But less often. And then even less.
Then I got it in my head that I needed advice. There’s lots of advice on how to blog. What to blog. The best way to blog. The worst way to blog. Niche blogging. Power blogging. Business blogging.

I signed up for every webinar, newsletter and mailing list that could teach me how to blog. Forget the fact that I’d been blogging for years. Apparently I needed to learn to how to do it right.

Didn’t help. Not only was I not inspired to write more. I wrote less. I never had any ideas. The few idea I had – I didn’t like. Writing became a chore.

I threw up my hands and started a new novel. Actually, I’d started a few others but they went exactly nowhere. But this one was different. It engaged me. The story mattered to me. I wasn’t blogging but I was writing.

But…

I still didn’t write every day.

Why not? For lots of reasons. Did any of them matter? Nope.

Life is messy – always. Even when you get a reprieve, it’s not for long. Cars break down. Clients disappear. Too much work. Not enough work. Work dries up. Sure things never are. Friends move. Loved ones get sick. There’s always something. Always. Something.

But then it hit me. My problem. I’ve been waiting for all to be right with the world. Like I needed some special nirvanic place in which to create. So if I had to wait for all to be right with the world before I could write that meant that I couldn’t write until: Things settled down. I landed more clients. Tax season was over. I’d lost twenty pounds. I wasn’t so tired. After the laundry. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Personally, I believe we all do this. We put aside things that matter to us while we’re waiting for all to be right with the world. The economy. Our jobs. Our kids. Our parents. Politics. The house is messy. The lawn needs mowing. It’s too noisy. It’s too quiet.

Meanwhile, we’re not doing the thing that makes life worth living. We’re not doing what makes us feel alive and like ourselves. We’re just waiting for a license to survive. To create. To be who we are. Waiting for someone to show up and assure us that we’re now allowed to write that novel, make that film, start that business, join that group, take those dance lessons. Whatever it is – we deny ourselves because we think there’s a special moment in time that will signal that all is right with our worlds and we can proceed.

But the truth is – there is never a right time

The only time you actually get is right now. Tomorrow is less of a promise and more of a hope. No matter how much you plan, life will mess up your plans. No matter how much stuff you put on your calendar something will knock it off. As long as you’re waiting for permission, you’ll never get it.

And besides all that, all will never be right with the world. No matter how much we want it. No matter how much people are convinced that they can make it happen (if only everyone would cooperate with them!). Not going to happen. Utopia is not coming to a theater near you any time soon. And probably not at all.

But what you can do is start that thing that you want so desperately. Sign up for that class. Write that book. Start that business. Learn that skill. Go back to school. Dare to be you. Right now. This minute.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2014

Are You the Hero of Your Own Story?

are you the hero of your own story?

No, I’m not talking about fiction here (although that could be a topic for another day).  I’m talking about you.  Your life, your business, your deal, your story.

The reason I’m asking is because I’ve noticed that there is so much hero worship going on these days.  You know?  Movie stars, singers, computer geniuses, marketing gurus, TV doctors, judges and lawyers…

In fact, this story claims that we worship Tom Hanks the most.  Really?  Tom Hanks?  Like what does Tom Hanks have to do with our day to day lives?  Bupkis, if you ask me.

Most people I know are busting their humps to get through day.  Work, kids, school, business, family obligations, rush hour traffic, grocery shopping – if you ask me it takes a true hero to face that stuff.

Not people who have private security guards and a team of assistants to fulfill their every need.  I mean wouldn’t you love to have Tom Hanks’ staff for a day so you could lounge by the pool or even read a book for two hours without being interrupted?

Maybe your hero is in the last place you look

We all love role models, people we want to aspire to be like, whether because of their smarts, their success or the great stuff they do.  It’s understandable.  Most people strive to learn and be better in some way.  I think that’s great.

But and it’s a big but, I think in our desire to be a new, better and improved self we often overlook how pretty darn great we already are.

Now, I’m not suggesting that people should drown themselves in self-love, but I am suggesting that maybe we should give ourselves a break.

 Try this

Just for the heck of it, sit down and try to write down all the things you do in the course of a day, or in the course of a week.  I’d be willing to bet that you’d fill up a lot of pages.  And when you’re done look it over.  Now consider this: is that the work of an ordinary human or some super hero who can drive, put on mascara, make the kids lunch and do a conference call at once?  Could a mere mortal juggle everyone’s schedule, hold down a job; take everybody to practice and school while managing to look like Julia Roberts?  I think not.

So the next time you get all down on yourself about your shortcomings, throw on your super hero/heroine cape (a sheet will do if yours is at the cleaners), laugh you best bad guy thwarting laugh and sing out, “Here I am to save the day!”

I guarantee it will make you feel better just to be your own hero for the day.

So, what death defying task did you perform today?  Tell me all about it in the comments.

WC

Copyright 2013

 

Ten Things That You Can Do To Get Inspired

robinLook, let’s be honest – life can be a drag.  Life can be hard.  Life can be all work and no play.  Things have been tough for a lot of people in the last couple of years—perhaps you’re one of those people.  Maybe you’re working a job you hate just to pay the rent and feed yourself.  Or you’re working two jobs because you can’t find full time work, or doing work on the side just to make ends meet.  Believe me, I get it.

So, it can be hard to get inspired about anything – except maybe a large pizza with everything and an all weekend Lost marathon.

There’s an old adage that says, “The best things in life are free.”  And maybe there is some wisdom in that statement.  Have we become so accustomed to our super techie world that we’re unable to see the simple everyday miracles right under our noses?  I think maybe we have.

So buck up maties and take a look at the following list to see if you can find inspiration in any of the following:

  1. Grow something from a seed.  There is nothing more inspiring than growing something with your own hands.  Seeds are very inexpensive, often you can find them in Dollar stores or discounted at the local nursery but even if you can’t afford that, you can harvest seeds from fruits and vegetables you already have.  If you harvest your own seeds, make sure to dry them out before planting.  It’s simple, just rinse them, dry them on a paper towel and set them in a warm dry spot for a week or so – then plant them.  If you don’t have a yard, use a patio pot.  If you don’t have a patio or porch, set up a pot on a table by a sunny window.
  2. Read a children’s book.  Who can read The Cat in the Hat or Ham and Green Eggs and Ham, without smiling? Children’s books by their nature are meant to encourage, teach, and inspire.  I dare you to read a Dr. Seuss book and not feel better.
  3. Make  your own bread.  There is something wonderful about the smell of fresh baked bread wafting through the air.  This is a no fail recipe that enables anyone to make their own bread.  And again if you’re on a tight budget, you can probably find all the supplies you need at the local dollar store.
  4. Make a little movie.  This article discusses specifically making a book trailer but you can make any kind of movie you want.  Maybe you want to make your own little inspirational movie.  Have fun, it’s only for you so you can make it as bold or silly as you like.  And play it whenever you want.
  5. Take a free course.  Learning something new can open new worlds and ideas to you that maybe you didn’t even know were there.  Free courses online abound everywhere.  The ones offered here really inspired me.
  6. Volunteer.  Nothing makes you feel better than helping someone else.  It puts things in perspective and makes our own problems seem a little less daunting.  There are hundreds of places to volunteer, hospitals, veteran centers, food banks, libraries, rest homes, etc.  But even if you don’t want to commit to that you can learn about seniors in your neighborhood who could use some help, maybe a ride to church or the local grocery store, helping them weed their garden or walk their dog.  If the will is there, you will find an opportunity.
  7. Take your grandparents or parents out to lunch.  Your parents and grandparents are a wealth of information.  They all have histories.  They have all gone through hard times and survived.  Why not take them out to lunch and ask them what life was like when they were their age.  What challenges did they face?  How did they overcome adversity.  Learn your own family history – maybe you have some heroes in your family tree you never knew about from whom you could get inspiration.
  8. Mind map your brilliant ideas.  This free software is a fun way to work out that idea you’ve had in the back of your mind for years or months.  Why not work it out on paper to see if you could actually make it work?
  9. Personalize photos and make a collage.  Everybody has photos – grab a bunch and head over to this free site.  Spiff them up and make a collage and send it to your friends or post it on facebook or make it your computer wallpaper or screensaver.  Or string a bunch of images together that creates a dream board.  The possibilities are endless.
  10. Count your blessings.  This is something none of us does enough.  No matter how bad things may be in your life, they probably aren’t as bad as someone else.  It’s so easy to focus on what is wrong with our lives while ignoring what is great.  We often take the good things in our lives for granted rather than showing gratitude for them.  I promise you if you just change this one thing you will see a real change in how you feel about yourself,  your life, and other people.

The truth is, inspiration is really everywhere we turn.  If we just open our eyes and look for it, we are sure to find it.

Are there things that inspire you?  Tell me about them in the comments below.

Writer Chick

Copyright 2013

Why Don’t We Really Talk to Each Other Anymore?

boys at park

You know I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately. It seems that despite all the trillions of words published on the Internet, uttered on television and exchanged between people on a daily basis there is really very little genuine communication happening in the world. Oh, the words are coming out fast and furious but is anyone really listening or noticing if anyone is listening? It seems to me that these bagillions of sound bites are just forming a collective blog of white noise that has just become a constant hum in the background.

How’d we get here?

How did we get here? Did we all just wake up one day and realize that there was some sort of spewing-out-words competition going on worldwide? We have to write our blog posts, write our comments in forums, brag on social media channels, and be the first to have 20 affiliate sites online? We have to text about every stupid thing somebody said or did or wore? We can’t put down our phones for one second to even acknowledge the grocery store checker or coffee house barista? We can’t even cross the street without a phone or iPod stuck to our ears? Methinks, yes. That does seem to be the case.

Thanks to technology, we no longer need to leave our homes to get what we want. We can order anything from furniture to diapers online. We can work from home in our pajamas, via the computer. We can stay in touch with family via social media, iPhones, Skype and email. We never actually have to be face to face with another human being. Ever.

What’s wrong with that?

Well there is nothing wrong with technology, in fact, it’s great. However, it does make things too easy for us. It makes it too easy to be disrespectful, mean and rude. It makes it too easy to see people as numbers, opposites, enemies, competitors and rivals. It brings us together but it also tears us apart. And there is one thing that technology can never give us and that’s humanity. We are living, sentient beings capable of incredible things. Kindness that no machine can ever replicate. Caring that no social media outlet will ever express. Love. Companionship. Understanding. Loyalty. Sympathy. Empathy. Joy. We humans really rock. And sadly, we don’t seem to value each other nearly as much as the latest release of our favorite gadget.

Hug your favorite human today

For certain, technology is not going away. And no doubt, better and better gadgets will be developed and embraced. Politicians will come up with more and more classes and categories to put us in. Dueling groups will duel into infinity and beyond. But I challenge you to hug your favorite human today. Put down the phone, the mouse, the iPad and talk to your mom. Sit on the porch and ask your granddad about what life was like when he was a boy. Go out to your garden and dig around in the dirt with your kids. Have a sit-down family dinner and talk about what happened today. Smile and ask the young kid at Starbucks how they’re doing. You may be surprised. You may find that humans are great fun to talk to and have ideas and dreams and wisdom to impart.

Writer Chick

Copyright 2013

The Ant Brigade

Recently I’ve had to accept gainful employment. Tough sell for someone who has been self-employed for quite a while. But it sure beats the heck out of being broke, hungry and homeless.

The job itself is fine, it’s website/Internet related and pretty much right up my alley. And of course you can always learn new things and to be honest I’ve learned quite a lot which will be helpful in future pursuits.

The interesting thing to me is that I realized it isn’t the working a job thing that really bothers me – it’s the ant brigade – aka the daily commute. After just a few short months I feel I have a whole new insight on road rage and bizarre behaviors reported on the nightly news.

I try to be easy going and just go with the flow. But when you are half asleep, driving on a road with hundred of others who are also half asleep, coffee deprived, distracted and actually dreading arriving at the office being easy going can be quite the challenge.

In my commuter adventures my favorite pet peeves are:

The bicyclist who thinks that pedaling down the middle of the lane with 20 cars behind him makes perfect sense.

The senior citizen who is so unsure of the integrity of their brakes that they never take their foot off the brake pedal.

The school kids and skateboarders who want to play chicken at the four way stop when it’s your turn to move.

The guy who waits to turn left in front of you until you are 10 feet away from him.

The fruit vendor who stops traffic because the lady in the hybrid can’t decide which bag of oranges she wants.

The texting idiot who keeps drifting into your lane then flips you off when you tap your horn.

The guy who suddenly realizes he has to stop at McDonald’s and crosses three lanes to get there.

The list can go on and on but you get the picture.

The really sad thing is that most of what I do at the ‘office’ I could do from home in my jim-jams. Unfortunately, companies insist you present a body at their house and jim-jams are not allowed.

*Sigh* I live for the day when once again my biggest commute is from my bed to my desk.

How about you, what is your ant brigade like?

Writer Chick
Copyright 2012

Also-rans Need Not Apply

2008 was a momentous year – in that the chosen one was chosen. Much to the dismay of conservatives and perhaps now to the dismay of many others – since we see the hope and change that was on the agenda. There have been countless articles and discussions as to who voted him in and why. There are also countless commentaries on the price we have come to pay for electing an inexperienced and naïve (at best) individual to the office of president. Now two years in and a brutal mid-term election season behind us, we reflect on who might be asking for the job two years hence…

I’m pretty sure that despite all the hoopla that the Dems will run Obama again – unless he decides he’s had enough. Though I believe that to be unlikely for a man with an ego the size of Europe. So the question is, who will run against Obama?

And I for one, would like to ask all those who ran in 2008 to please refrain from running again. (Or threatening to – I’m talking to you Newt.) Romney, Guliano, Palin, McCain, Huckabee, Ron Paul, and company please don’t take this personally but I just think your time has passed. America is not what she was in 2008 – she is more tired, more distraught and more suspicious of the political process. She is in no mood for the usual rhetoric, the time-worn phrases and unfulfilled promises of the past. It just won’t do to say what people want to hear anymore. Action is the keyword and frankly, given the last presidential election cycle, your actions aren’t going to fly. Because America now knows (perhaps more than she has in decades) that talk is cheap. That the GOP has to walk the walk if it’s going to talk the talk.

While I personally liked Romney last time out, his association with the failed health care system in Massachusetts is a heavy albatross around his neck and the atmosphere on invasive and far-reaching health care is not friendly or welcoming. And no, really Mitt, it’s not about you being a Mormon. Huckabee, you essentially forced the nomination of John McCain, who aside from being 10 years older than dirt is one of the poorest excuses for a Republican that I have ever seen in my lifetime. Rudy I love you and God bless you for all you did for the country on 9/11 but contrary to popular belief, New York is not a microcosm of the country, in fact, some believe New York is its own country and frankly $10 hot dogs in every pot is not what most Americans are hoping for. Sarah, God love you for all you’ve done with the Tea Party and the re-awakening of the party but aside from the fact that you are the female version of New Gingrich as a firebrand, for all intents and purposes you are our version of Hillary Clinton. Right or wrong, fair or unfair, I do believe that is the truth. McCain…can you prove you are actually still alive? Face it, you like Bob Dole, got the nomination because there were favors called in and it was your turn. I know you believed that you rather than GW Bush were meant to get the nomination in 2000 and you managed to convince people of that eight years later but the truth is, you weren’t. Truth is hard, I know, but accept the fact gracefully, please. Ron Paul, do what you do best and remain the bull-dogish watch dog on constitutional issues within Congress – siphoning off a percentage of votes from other candidates does America no good and ends up producing candidates like McCain.

So…who should run or will run? I don’t know. There is buzz about Chris Christie, the no-nonsense NJ governor clearly is not afraid to stand up for what he believes in and to do what he feels is best for his state. But he’s awfully new to the scene and given his support of RINO Mike Castle we might want to know more about him first. Although if he passes the sniff test, I’d certainly be willing to hop on the Christie band wagon to see what the man is about. Tim Pawlenty – sorry dude, all I know is that your name is bandied about a lot but nothing about you, which isn’t good since if you’re serious about a run you should be out making yourself and your positions on the issues, known. Jim DeMint looks promising if only because he is so willing to buck the GOP establishment. But if you want to know who really puts stars in my eyes right now, I’d have to say Allen West and Marco Rubio top the list. Both men seem honest, straightforward, humble, conservative and real American success stories. If you have not seen their acceptance speeches following their recent wins, check out youtube for them. These two are truly inspiring individuals in my book.

So GOP, don’t say I didn’t warn you if you decide that running an also-ran is a good idea. Don’t be surprised when the public rejects them. Don’t be surprised when you give Obama a second term – because you will. If you haven’t gotten the hint already you will soon enough. It’s time to pull yourselves up by your bootstraps, review, reflect and change your ways from your national committee to your state committees. We don’t want the Whitmans or the Fiorinas, we don’t want the Mike Castles or the Bob Bennets – we want real conservatives who understand and practice real conservative principles. Remember, you were the guys who fought against Ronald Reagan (thank God the electorate had other ideas) – and true to form you now tout him as an icon of conservative principles. Yet you couldn’t recognize that at the time. Face it guys, you’re on probation too. Get your house in order because if you don’t and you don’t support candidates who are real conservatives you will never win again and the electorate will be forced to find a party that will honor its wishes.

How about you, who is your dream conservative ticket for 2012?

copyright 2010

If I Ruled the World – Theme Friday

if i ruled the world

Welcome to my world. It’s rather sparse, actually and perhaps surprisingly. I’m not sure what inspired me to come up with this prompt – maybe because I’d recently heard the song by the same title. A pretty song, one I always liked. Or maybe it was just a brain fart because you see, I’ve been thinking about this for days and I honestly don’t know what it would be like if I ruled the world.

In fact, I’m not at all sure that I would want to rule the world. I’m not that power hungry or ambitious or motivated or whatever it is you need to be to want to rule the world. To want to determine the fate of every man, woman and child that inhabit this dusty, sorry excuse for a planet that we have here.

Maybe I should have said my hope for the world, because I have many. I hope that we can learn to live together. So much so that we don’t need someone to rule the world. So much so that there aren’t ambitious, power-hungry meglamaniacs who want to fill that need around every corner. That we can evolve as sentient beings who can live together through cooperation, empathy and understanding.

That we can get to a place where we don’t have to perpetrate hatred on another in order to feel good. That we don’t have to win so another can lose. That we don’t have to force others to see it our way so we can have our own way. That we can find a way to love our fellows despite any reasons we shouldn’t. That we answer adversity with understanding and use might sparingly and rarely.

That we could find new, better games to play in the playing field of life. Ones that reap amazing art, wonderous music and incredible advances that lift us all up. That we could not all be one, like a bunch of robots dancing to the same tune, but be ourselves and discover all the wonderful things about ourselves that we can offer to the world and ourselves.

So…if I ruled the world I would want to rule a world that didn’t need me to rule it. And then I would go play and leave the throne to the dust bunnies and spider webs.

copyright 2009

themefrilogo

What kind of world does Christine rule?

Our Brother’s Keeper – Or is That Somebody Else’s Job?

Lately, this question has been circling my awareness and it seems to be screaming at me from all places. From the whole Obama/pastor snafu to my own personal life, it seems our connections to others or lack thereof are up for scrutiny.

It begs the question, is one responsible for those they know and what they do? I’m a bit on the fence about this because I can see both sides of the coin. On the one hand, every person is accountable for their own actions and words. Absent any kind of physical or emotional force (at least in America) people are not made to do or say things – in fact, we are the land of freedom of speech – no country has more personal freedoms than ours. So, from that point of view, no, we’re not responsible for the actions of others. On the other hand, no man is an island – despite the latest craze of cocooning and sort of running our worlds from the one-stop shop of our computer hubs – there actually are other people out there and we come into contact with them everyday. Whether through physical or cyber means. We all have a voice and our own brand of influence – we can change people’s minds and actions. We do it all the time. Don’t believe me? You see a little child about to run into the street – you stop them just as a car zooms by. A friend is distraught over a recent breakup and maybe thinking suicidal thoughts, you stay up the night talking them down from the ledge. Or even….you write a post about something that is bothering you on your blog – a stranger halfway around the world reads it and rethinks something they were going to do, perhaps even gains some insight or perspective on the situation and decides not to do something rash or decides to do something that ends up really helping someone. See where I’m going with this?

The world and life is full of choices, some good, some bad. We can bury our heads in our butts and pretend we don’t see things or recognize cries for help or we can open ourselves up to all and everything out there. And it’s the little things too that I think that sometimes mean the most. Sure, we like to all get involved in ’causes’ help fight drug abuse, breast cancer, MS, oppression in China, imprisoned bloggers, expose nasty politicians or corporate malfeasance and there’s nothing wrong with it. But there is so much going on right outside your own doorstep that I wonder if tending to that, doesn’t have a greater overall effect. Maybe it’s the trickle down effect – know what I mean? Where that one little action you take can change a whole sequence of events of which you are not even aware?

Today, Blog Catalogue is doing a blogger human rights event. The idea is to get all the bloggers to unite and discuss human rights across the world. A lofty goal and worthy too. And I thought about finding some big issue and writing about it – but instead I thought that big issues only become big because the little issues are ignored and left to fester. I wonder, if we all just did whatever we could to stop injustice and enhance the quality of life for all those around us (including ourselves) if the big issues would ever come to be. Don’t you?

I guess in the end, I do believe we are our brother’s keepers. And we wear that responsibility by the way we treat others and ourselves. By the way we reach out or pull back. By the way we view the world. By our attitudes and philosophies – by our inclinations to help or to harm – to share or compete. To me, human rights aren’t about some big issue ‘out there’ it’s about all the many little things in our own backyards.

What do you think?

WC