How do we pay as individuals and as a community when we tune out?
How can the tides be reversed?
What can one person do?
Does the social fabric of society begin to unravel when we just look out for ourselves and only our own?
The issues before our community appear gargantuan in scope. Caught up in the daily grind of making ends meet it may seem like a luxury to stop and afford our own time to positively impact another life. What shall we do?How do we do that? No one requires us to care. At some point down the line though, not exercising empathy for others takes a toll on each of us.
Not caring closes up your heart and changes your mind. Children ‘grow up’ and take matters into their own hands…sometimes with guns. Soon enough, low-income neighborhoods begin to look like the wild west. Adolescent boys and young men band together for security and second-rate love within gangs. Their mindset is not one of how to make their community better when they are involved in criminal gang culture.
Matters get worse. Cops who are Daddy’s, and brothers, son’s and mothers step in to do what they can to ‘hold the line.’ This is not so evident in up-scale neighborhoods, yet it is a dramatic reality in low-income neighborhoods. Almost daily we hear of a child shot for no reason, or a Dad working as a police officer who gets taken down on a dare (for bragging rights) between gang members. The anger in our hearts rise and the pain does not subside. Nerves get pushed to the hilt. Accidents happen. All the while, those we honor in our parades, our civil servants become over-taxed emotionally (as do their families who bear with them) cleaning up the pain as best as they can.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of my main role models, proclaimed Ghandi's idea of focusing on social change in non-violent, empathic ways. They were right. We do have to be the change we want to see in the world if we are to change the world for the better. Their is no way around that fact. We can’t change people. We can only change ourselves, yet others can see our example and decide for themselves if they want to also be a force for positive change. A force for positive disruption, one day at a time. The old 'band-aid' ways do not work. We need to be more. Being more for each other starts in our heart and moves on out from their into the world, like ripples on a pond. With commitment, with consistency and an open heart, our caring actions will cause not a ripple effect, but a tidal wave that starts to spread across the community, heart to heart.
Are you unstoppable? Be #HotterThanFire4Others. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.