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Community Action vs. Empty Gestures

September 28, 2017

Volunteering in Community

To stand or kneel, to post or comment… these are not the issues that should be dominating our lives. Instead, our biggest questions should be posed to ourselves. How can I help? What can I DO to make it better?

Protests have their place to initiate change, but after that initiation, they become trite, bandwagon gimmicks. While I personally dislike the man who began kneeling during my beloved national anthem, sullying a sacred anthem, he started something worthwhile. A discussion worth having.

Now, a year later, his quiet action has become nothing more than an empty gesture. It’s a non-action performed by those who waited until it became comfortable, popular and easy. They want us to discuss THEM, so they stay relevant. But they’re detracting from the initial message by further dividing the giant social chasm that exists.

Why we, as an American people, put more worth in the bandwagon voices of multi-millionaire pro athletes and the Hollywood elite than in the words and actions of our fellow community members is beyond me.

These performers have the American stage for entertainment purposes. They have the mic, so they use it to spout off to stay in the headlines. However, we who do not live in gated mansions don’t have such a mic. Social media isn’t much of a megaphone, either, when we simply drown each other out because no one is truly listening.

Therefore, we need to roll up our sleeves to enact the change we desire. We need to be listening, volunteering and acting alongside the members of our individual communities. Instead of going to Facebook to seek out a post that offends, so we can comment and feel important, we must leave our houses and insert ourselves into our community to DO something important.

We need to volunteer to work with kids in our towns, so we can influence them to work hard and treat others respectfully. We need to give more of our time and our sweat and elbow grease than we give of empty words, gestures, and even money.

Because it is there, working side by side with each other making our community a better place to live and work, that real change happens. Through teaching, building, coaching, cleaning, gardening and leading, we build our world into a more beautiful, beneficial experience for everyone. Instead of focusing on all of the ways we disagree, being physically involved, shoulder to shoulder and face to face, we start to see our shared visions more clearly.

We are the voices and bodies to watch. Not the entertainers who are overpaid for talents. Remember, they work for us. To entertain us, not to drive a wedge between us. We have the power to change how we respond. To react less to their empty gestures that don’t have a direct impact on our lives, and respond more to the people we know and care about.

I’d love to hear about all of the big and small ways individuals are volunteering and making an impact. Tell me what you have done and what you are doing that goes beyond your computer screen or your smart phone. Count your impact in the number of individuals who recognize your face from in-person hands-on work instead of the number of likes from strangers who clicked an icon.

When I see you out there, working to improve our communities and influence the next generation, that’s when I’ll take notice. And if you’re down on your knee, I’ll offer you a hand so we can rise and move forward, side by side, together.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Leigh permalink
    September 28, 2017 10:38 AM

    Extremely well said!

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