Are you a “what if” or “why not” thinker?
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With Thanksgiving coming up in a few days, I have been reflecting on what I am thankful for. I have to say, over the past year my eyes have been opened to many wonderful people, organizations, and opportunities our community possesses. I am beyond thankful to be a part of this. Unfortunately, for a lot of community members it took 43 homicides to act as a wake up call in how we can better our city. There is not one act, one organization, one person who can change an entire city’s mind set & values. However, one act, one organization, or one person can make a difference when we all work together. City Life is the epitome of this. I am blessed and thankful I have a found such a truly inspiring group of people striving to help our city. With community collaborations, focusing on each person & organization’s strengths, we can make a difference. We can change our city.
Recently, a common phrase among my male teenage clients emerged. “Too much.” For these young men, everything imaginable seems to be too much. At first, it seemed a reasonable response for some of the tasks they were given, since they were never given that much responsibility before. However, when literally everything I said was followed by, “that’s too much, I can’t do all that” I became agitated. My favorite example of this was asking a young man if he could continue tutoring in the morning. The response, “that’s too much, I’ll have to walk up the stairs.”
After thinking about this phrase & how frustrating it was, I began to think of why these young men are seemingly just throwing in the towel before they even think about beginning. Although the youth I work with are refugees, they all have their own unique stories, home life, and interests. Why is this phrase sweeping across our youth and allowing them an excuse for their behavior?
This made me think back to a post I read about the violence our city is currently experiencing. Someone had commented ‘the police need to be doing more.’ Someone else commented ‘there are not enough programs for youth.’ Another concerned citizen made the statement ‘perhaps the government should be changing laws.’ It finally made sense. Here are adults, citizens in our community, stating someone else should be fixing this problem. Someone else needs to step it up in our community. Here are adults, role models for the younger generations, whether they realize it or not, basically responding “that’s too much for me to do.”
Maybe we don’t express the concept verbatim, but we, as a community, can have the tendency to fall into this mind set. This is not to discredit those who are indeed wonderful role models and are making efforts in our community. This is a general wake up call to our entire city. The 41 homicides are NOT just the south side of Fort Wayne’s problem. The children who go home from school not knowing whether they will have dinner is not just the Department of Child Services’ problem. The gangs throughout our city are not merely for the police to deal with. As a community, these challenges- these people- affect all of us. If in fact they affect all of us, shouldn’t it be a collective effort by the city’s citizens to help make our community a better place?
The violence in our city might be addressed differently if there were more officers working on it; however, officers have multiple responsibilities so what can citizens do to help alleviate the violence? There are enough programs for youth, but do we know about them? Better yet, do we encourage our youth to utilize them? Finally, if you are waiting for the government to come fix a problem, you may be waiting for quite some time. These three examples are the epitome of how we can take statements that express “it’s too much for me to help” and turn them into creative, innovative thoughts; which in turn can become actions making an impact. We can’t depend on someone else to always solve the problem. When we hear the negative news stories, it can be easy to sit back and think, “that’s too much, I can’t help with that.” But it’s time to step out of our comfort zone.
We cannot keep punishing children for their behavior or their thoughts without first understanding where those behaviors or thoughts come from. We can however be positive influences on all of the youth, especially the children we don’t know. The way you react in a store, at the movies, or in your neighborhood may be the lesson, which sculpts a child. This lesson can either be a positive or negative influence, changing a child’s life. Understanding our impact on the youth of our community is vital in making a positive change. When will we realize that “too much” is not enough?
Love is a shelter.
Love is a cause.
Love goes on forever.
Yeah, Love will leads us all.
Love! It is our honor.
Love! It is our all.
Love goes on forever.
Yeah, Love it is our home.
It seems that the topic of conversation post Africa trip has been based a lot around extreme poverty, corruption, and basically “what’s wrong with the world.” And this thought seems to come at a global perspective, one most of us are not used to thinking about. But when someone you know goes to Kenya, you kind of have to think globally. Although I love to challenge everyone I know to expand their thoughts to a global perspective, it also agitates me that there are clearly extreme ‘problems’ in the rest of the world however, not at home.
As a social worker, I experience these problems vicariously through my amazing clients. No matter what their situation, these people have fought a battle far harder than mine, so they instantly gain my willingness to listen. Who I am to judge someone when I don’t fully understand their story?
I feel that this is where a lot of social problems stem from: judgement. Who are we to judge another culture, denomination, gender, race, etc.? Who are we to create problems with someone else based on fear, ignorance, intimidation?
As much as I advocate for a global perspective to change the world, sometimes I think the best solution is to start at home. I didn’t invent this theory. Google it. Why don’t we help the person on the side of the road, or the man who asks us for our left overs. Why do we just drive past, or if we are feeling generous donate some food or change and proceed to live our comfortable lives? Why don’t we do more? WHY DON’T I DO MORE?
Five minutes is all it takes to change a life. Five minutes of asking someone their story. Five minutes of inspiring someone to take a job application instead of begging for a dollar. Five minutes to see why someone is standing outside in 30 degree weather.
Why don’t we take the five minutes? We’re too individualistic. We like our privacy, we love our space. We love when people stop talking to us, stop annoying us. We love it. I also love world peace. & in order for this phenomenon to occur, we have to stop loving ourselves more than we love the homeless man on the street.
"You can’t do anything about global poverty, but YES YOU CAN. The sea is really only drops of water coming together.”
live on. live bold. live free.
A national study said teen sexual assault rates in Indiana are higher than the national average