The 3 Vs for Making the World a Better Place
I want to save the world. But I can’t. So what’s a girl to do? I can follow Mother Teresa’s words and cast a few ripples. And you can, too. In fact, if we all do a little, we can create BIG change. So here are a few things that are easy enough for anyone to do, so don’t wait, do them now!
If you’re over 18 and eligible to vote, there’s really no excuse. We all see things in our communities and our nation that frustrate us. Like how our education system (at least in Arizona) continues to take a beating every time the budget process begins, or how the potholes in the roads keep multiplying. And I won’t even mention Congress and how not much seems to get done in Washington these days. We feel powerless and unheard and neglected.
But we can vote. Let me say it again. We can vote. In fact, it’s our responsibility to do so. If I don’t like what is happening to the education system in my state, I can vote out the people in my district who are making the boneheaded decisions. If the roads need fixing, I can vote for a county supervisor who will do something about it. If I care about the direction this country is taking, I can, should and WILL vote in the presidential election.
Mine may be only one of thousands, but each one makes a difference. My vote counts, and so does yours. And don’t let anyone tell you different.
If you’re not registered to vote, click here to do it now.
What better way to make a difference in your world than to give your time and talents to something you care about? And you don’t have to give up a lot of either to really make a difference. The thing to remember is that your efforts will contribute to making some small thing better for somebody.
I started by volunteering at my kids’ school. My son’s Pre-K teacher wanted to make soup and teach the kids about different vegetables, so she assigned each kid to bring in a veggie, and I came in with my portable cooktop and made soup. Easy peasy for me because I had the time and I know how to cook. That grew into more food projects in the class, then some artsy-craftsy stuff, and finally, into me coming in once a week to read with the kids. It was fun, I got to see my kid at school (extra hugs for me!), and I felt like I was really helping to enhance the school experience for the kids in the class.
Now I’m a Reading Coach with a wonderful program here in Tucson called Reading Seed that pairs coaches with kids in our public schools who are reading below grade level. I’m using what I learned with my son’s teacher to help other kids improve their reading skills so they can increase their chances for success in school and beyond. I love that I can see how each of my reading kids is growing from week to week, and it encourages me to know that I’m making a difference in their lives.
Reading has become my volunteer thing. For you, it might be something different. Explore the things you’re passionate about, or if you’re like me and don’t know what you’re passionate about, think about what small thing you can do. It might be as simple as volunteering to bring a meal to a friend who just had a baby or whose spouse is ill. It could be collecting warm clothing for families who are struggling this winter, or helping an elderly neighbor take out her trash.
Don’t have a lot of time? Don’t let that be an excuse that stops you from giving a little of yourself to others. It’s great for us to donate money to causes when we can, but it’s the personal touch that often makes the greatest impact. And if you don’t believe me, just ask the exhausted new mom who is eating your chicken casserole tonight instead of crying over her empty dinner table.
3. Use your VOICE
Some of us are loud. Some of us are quiet. Some of us are super funny. Others speak with passion and eloquence. But we all have something to say, so say it!
Whether your audience is online or in person, find people who will listen and have your say. Since this blog is brand new, I’m not sure who it will reach yet, but I hope it will someday be an avenue for smart, beautiful readers like you to find useful and meaningful information. Until then, Facebook provides an easy avenue for letting people know what I care about.
Social media outlets, like Facebook & Twitter, make it easy for regular people to express themselves, and if used well, can create just those ripples that have the potential to change the world. Use them thoughtfully and people will pay attention to what you’re sharing. Use them frivolously and you may have to try a little harder, but even one person who “gets” your message starts that ripple.
Have coffee with your friends, talk to your neighbor, share a post on Facebook, or call your mom. Reaching out in the simplest ways can help you find your voice. Then just like your piano teacher told you, practice, practice, practice, and soon you’ll see what a difference it makes!
I know these 3 Vs can be done by anyone, anywhere, and if we all do them, imagine the good we can do in the world!
I’d love to hear your thoughts. What do you do to make a difference? And which one of the Vs can you do this week?
(Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya)