Time to Take Action
This summer was riddled with “media opportunities”, most of which made me sad, angry, frustrated, and tired. Tired from the feeling of helplessness that washes over us when we wish we could do something to effect change in the world, but can’t quite figure out where to begin.
Robin Williams took his own life this summer. I posted information on depression, suicide hotlines, mental illness support groups, etc. Sadly, it took the death of a star to bring our attention to an illness that so many people ignore or respond to with a “just cheer up”. When Michael Brown was shot at least 6 times by a police officer, the debate raged over racial issues, police brutality, unarmed citizens, and young adult offenders. The story struck a chord in my heart and fueled my desire to be a part of the change in our society. Across the world, ISIS members have committed unspeakable acts and our armed forces are continuing to risk their lives around the world to keep us and our allies safe. Each time another soldier is killed, I shake my head and wonder what we are doing to ourselves, our country, and our world. It took the outrage of female football fans to push the NFL to impose a tougher penalty on Ray Lewis for abusing his wife. Animal cruelty gets less than acceptable attention. My eyes are tearing up, my throat is tight, and my brain is working overtime to answer the question – what can I do to be a part of the solution?
Social media spreads information but recent news reports have stated that research shows most of us post and comment on the fun stuff and refrain from reading or commenting on the real issues. I get it on one level – social media is an outlet for many to escape from the troubles of the day. On another level, I wonder what changes could actually be made if we all logged off social media sites once a week and took action by using that time to help those who need our support and attention. I believe that in that time, you will notice a difference in yourself and others and commit to a more permanent shift.
A few places to start:
- Volunteer four hours a week on a suicide prevention or an abuse hotline.
- Help the homeless.
- Adopt a pet or work at a shelter.
- Reach out to the veterans in your community.
- Stand up for your beliefs and leave the offensive, malicious comments out of the conversation.
- Follow your heart and your core values.
- Learn to shift hopelessness into hopefulness.