I spend a lot of time avoiding topics like current events or politics as I don’t want to alienate people and to be painfully transparent with you, I don’t want to embarrass myself by talking about things that I don’t know enough about to speak on with any authority. I still don’t have enough knowledge to stop worrying about that, but I am no longer willing to let that be an excuse to keep me quiet.
Case in point, the shootings that have given us all pause over the last few weeks. Perhaps it is because I am going to be a mom soon and am anticipating the questions I will get from my little girl or thinking about my own stamp on the world and the part I play.
It started for me a few months ago, but I don’t think I was ready to admit that I play a role and an important one. I am a professional speaker, I am a Toastmaster, I am a wife, a mother, citizen.. the list goes on. As I have 1437 of you who are listening/reading and I have a responsibility to share with you what I experience, what I am thinking about and doing.
We ALL do. After the tragedy in Orlando, I felt so helpless, and I used this blog to highlight the names of the victims, and it became clear to me that it’s not enough to do something after the fact, it’s not enough to post pictures showing our support on Facebook or like or comment.. – it’s certainly a start and I was doing that for a while before I got HERE so I get that it’s a progression. But for me, passive acts are NO longer enough.
It’s not enough to stand on the side of the road, after an accident happens and say, “Oh, what a shame, I wish there was something I could do”- We all have the power to do something, or say something to help ELIMINATE the idea that ALL people (regardless of race, creed, religion, sex) do not deserve our respect. It could be -if you hear someone telling a racist joke, stop them, It doesn’t have to be ugly.. it can be “I wish you wouldn’t tell jokes like that, it’s not kind”- or if someone tries to gossip with you with that same spirit, say, “you know, I really don’t like gossip” In that spirit, I went to a Community Outreach group on Monday in Austin, – here is the full telecast if you are interested in what was said and who spoke-
and while it’s a step in the right direction, that is by no means where I am stopping. I am going to tell you the God’s honest truth. I don’t know the right words to say, and I am absolutely going to say the wrong things from time to time, but I have a heart to serve and to help.. and listen, so I can’t let that FEAR stop me any more. I had several people after this event tell me to “keep trying, even if you mess up, it’s better than being silent” The thing that kept being brought home to me over and over again during this event is that there are multiple groups that are working hard to bring respect to multiple groups and so the good news is there is no need to “Reinvent the wheel”.. It’s not as if there aren’t already GREAT efforts going on. Look at these groups, decide where and how you want to plug in and then do it. (if you aren’t in Austin, do some local digging- )
DO something, I IMPLORE you, even if it’s to say hi to someone you wouldn’t normally talk to, reach out and be kinder (that includes the people you know already but don’t really like for whatever reason) Maybe think about why you don’t like them? Do they remind you of something in you that you don’t like? Do they rub you the wrong way? Try chalking that up to personality styles and find something you genuinely like about them and focus on that.
Pay for someone’s coffee or lunch– Go read a few articles on one of these websites. Don’t let the fear of saying something wrong stop you from doing something. Learn what you can, that is my next step, and then figure out what you CAN do.
Think about it, yes.. but DO SOMETHING- How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time-
so I ask you, what will you do? How can you help? What’s your next step?