“If you don’t contribute, don’t complain” (Frank Sonnenberg)
Saw this quote earlier today on Facebook.
It screamed at me.
My first thoughts were about elections, when so many people say “You don’t have a right to complain if you don’t vote”.
I believe there is truth in that.
But it goes so much deeper.
Every single day, there are people complaining about things over which they, as individuals, have no control. What they fail to realize, though, is that while they may not be able to have an effect on the issue globally, they can affect it locally.
After all, if enough people care enough to take small actions, global shifts can happen.
Take homelessness. It’s a huge problem in this country.
Overcrowded shelters can’t take care of them all.
In some communities, the housing crisis of 2008-2009 left a glut of empty homes gathering dust on the market.
Several years ago, a program in Utah began giving homes to the homeless. Is it a perfect answer to the problem? Maybe, maybe not. Results have shown that is has helped reduce the levels of chronic homelessness and, for those who just needed a break to get back on their feet, helped instill a sense of pride and purpose.
Far too many Americans are going hungry each day.
Can one person feed them all?
No, but can we each help make a difference?
For the past several Summers, my step-mom has invested in an extra tomato plant for her deck.
Every tomato from that plant is donated to a local shelter for women and their kids.
My mom and her husband have been sharing the bounty of their garden as well, providing a plethora of fresh vegetables to various shelters, and also giving them starter plants so that they can grow their own.
By taking pride and sharing responsibility in the care of the plants, those in need have become active participants in their own recovery.
The homeless person wearing raggedy clothing barely stands a chance to get a job based on appearance, despite any skills he or she may possess.
There are programs out there (this I know because my family and friends have made donations) which work with shelters and unemployment programs to provide gently-used professional clothing to help these people stand a chance in the court of public opinion and perception.
So…how can YOU change the world today?
If you say that you can’t, you’re wrong.
You probably have, somewhere in your closet, an article of clothing you haven’t worn in years which is ten times better than what someone in need is wearing right now.
If you say you don’t have time, you’re lying.
Holding a door for someone and smiling costs you nothing (you had to open that door for yourself anyway, unless you’re a ghost) and you might be the only person who even acknowledges that person today.
If you say you will, but you don’t…you’re a hypocrite.
So many people say they want to help but let themselves off the hook by saying “I just didn’t know what to do”.
I’ve got a whole page dedicated to ideas. Some of them are so easy that your wallet won’t even know you’re sneaking up on it for a buck or two. http://SteveGamlin.com/giving
Who can change the world?
Based on my personal experience, I bet that if you do start helping, you might even complain less and encourage more.
Instead of finger-pointing and exclaiming that ‘someone’ should be helping, you can be the living breathing example of someone who actually gives a crap about the world…and is doing something about it.
I am pointing my finger at you right now, and I am smiling.
Make a difference.
You know you can.