We Are Bigger Than This
Every year at this time I watch the annual givers do their thing. As if Thanksgiving is the only time those in need are actually in need! Yes giving and serving others is great for those in need on Thanksgiving. Just remember, Thanksgiving is one of 365 (or 366 on leap years) days. Allow your giving this week to be a kick off to a year long love affair with helping others. There is a bigger picture. I am writing on this Thanksgiving Eve because I'm hoping to show you the picture I see.
I watch social media rip the sense of community right out of our collective hands. It cannot be about only you. It's got to be about us. I've even seen people do what I call "perpetrate the fraud". You've seen the people who go to an organization's event, but all you see them doing is promoting their attire or look for the night. You never learn about the organization that they were there to support, or even more importantly, you're not invited to help the organization. We've replaced Likes for Community Love...that's where we are collectively as a community. This must change.
The Spirit of Giving
The birthplace for many giving spirits comes in the form of reconstituted guilt. Yes, you look around and see all that you have, and want to help those that don't have what you have. Is that giving? Or is that a self-justification for having what you have? I know, I sound like I'm talking in loops, but the origin of the giving matters!
Giving for the long-term means that no matter your circumstances, you'll be there to give. To be quite frank, communities all over the world need people to be giving for the long-term; not just on a holiday. Plus what happens when you look around and don't "have it like that"? Do you stop giving? Giving is not about setting a standard that coincides with your rise. Giving is about helping all people rise. This is by far my favorite video that demonstrates the spirit giving despite your circumstances:
It's so disheartening to see people living on the streets; lacking the proper food, water, and shelter. How can we say a community is doing well when we treat just one person like this much less countless number of people - human beings who deserve better? The Economy is up? How can we say that when we allow people to be down? The systemic blind eye to human beings in need is alarming and in many cases sickening.
I know that many cities frown upon passers-by giving money or food to homeless people. Why is that? I've heard the arguments, and it will never pass the smell test with me. Making a law against someone using their free will to serve is egregious and unforgivable. It's a law I've proudly broken in many cities in which I've lived and served. I cannot drive by and decide to look away. I lock eyes with them. I feel their pain. I cannot ignore them because a law asks me not to care for the homeless in that way.
Serving for Life
We have choices each day. The $20 you randomly throw away at a fast food restaurant (where the food is mediocre) could have bought 20 canned goods to help several families in your area. Think about the ways in which you spend your time, talent, and treasure. Ask yourself this fundamental question,
"Can I rework my habits to create more opportunities to give and serve in my community?"
We don't get to make excuses about why we didn't help this time, or maybe next time. Your caring for someone, seeing them as a human being is the help that many people need. As you begin to see the people who live in your community, you'll better understand what is required for everyone to thrive.
Before You Vote
How can you vote for representatives in your community if you turn a blind eye to issues in your community? See them. See all of them. Recognize that "them" is "us". Everyone has a story and a journey. Just like any journey, the people you encounter make all the difference. I recall a time in 2005 where a series of wild circumstances rendered me without a car and a place to live in the blink of an eye. I was speechless. I had money, I had friends, but to be stripped of your transportation (vehicle stolen) and your home (that's a long story) in hours is shocking. I was in the fortunate position to pay for a hotel. Days later I put earnest money down on my first home. Yes, my homeless was different than what you picture. But homeless - lacking a place to be safe and that is consistent - that can look like a variety of circumstances. The man in that video described a homeless situation that most don't think of. I'm sure my quick synopsis of my experience is something most don't think about. For whatever reason we justify homelessness as a lazy person issue. It is so much bigger than that. Start making eye contact. Start connecting. Again I say, 'them' is 'us' all day every day.
Homeless does not equal hopeless unless you allow it to be so.
Understand who lives in your community. Work to make everyone better. And vote for the changes that are needed to make everyone better. The root word "Community" comes from the Latin root, "communis", which means "common, public, and shared by all or many". We share it all, the triumphs and the trials. The successes and the failures. That's what a community is. You can live on a personal island, or you can live in a community. Share your growth and rise. Inspire others around you to do the same. Some days your belief may be all that is required to help someone rise. Surely you can give your community that. And if you don't have belief to give, someone in your own community may be called to inspire you with theirs. Community is a "we" and "us" thing. It' time for us all to understand that.
I hope you make this holiday a kick off and not just a moment in time. I'll be cheering you on, because making a difference means the giver makes a lifelong commitment. I am committed to the future of my community in which I live and serve. It's important for me to stress giving as much as possible. I've made it an important goal for my own organization. Giving and serving is living and flourishing. From The Thibeaux Company, I wish you an AMAZING holiday season that changes lives for the better and sets a pace for a prosperous future for all!
#Shock the World
Jennifer "drJ" Thibeaux is an American author, publisher, speaker, and entrepreneur. Leading The Thibeaux Company®, drJ hopes to impact human performance in a variety of industries. Working with executives and key influencers in Fortune 100 companies, drJ has developed a keen sense of performance in action. Earning business and education advanced degrees, drJ continues to insert intelligence into the performance conversation. Hosting and appearing on a variety of radio shows, podcasts, and other broadcast mediums, drJ has no "stop" in sight. To find out more about Jennifer "drJ" Thibeaux or products and projects from The Thibeaux Company®, be sure to visit www.Thibeaux.org