Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Habits



One of the things that I've come to realize over the last several years, starting with Katrina, is that we can no longer look to the government to protect us. I guess I had been living in a bubble, but I thought that in an emergency the federal government would be there to solve the problem, if the need was great. Like some giant bird swooping down to fix whatever was wrong. (Too many movies, I think.) But I no longer have faith in its capability to handle huge problems. New Orleans, banking deregulation, the two wars we should not be in, MMS's non-oversight of mining and the Gulf oil spill, Congress's inability to do anything at all, have made me realize that we just have each other in the long run.

I could whine and cry about this realization, I guess, but like so many of you, I'm tired of that. Instead, I've decided to take a hands-on approach. If I see a need, and I have the ability to help in some way, then that is what I'm going to do. It may be a simple blog post, or a donation, or putting change in the jars sitting on the grocery counter, but whatever it is, I'm going to jump in with both feet. It's easy to donate all of your used household items to a good cause, it's easy to pass on information on our blogs, it's easy to pull in and let teenagers wash your car to raise money for a school project, it's easy to buy a box of cookies from the Girl Scouts, it's easy to tip an extra dollar to the waitress bringing you your breakfast.

I think we need to take a grass-roots approach to helping each other. If everyone did one little thing, each time they could, think of the overall impact. Today I donated the comments money from Lori's fundraiser for the Gulf animals covered in oil. Tomorrow I will make it a point to not look the other way when I see a need, but make a sincere effort to help in some way. I'm going to do this until it becomes habit - just like brushing my teeth. I'm going to do it until I don't even notice I'm doing it anymore.

29 comments:

The Good Cook said...

You are an inspiration to me. You know what? Me too. One day at a time until I don't even notice I'm doing it anymore. Starting right now; I have this yellow postcard from the American Vets for a usable clothing pickup. I am going to clean out my closet - all those corporate monkey suits I have - some only two years old - from my past life - instead of a consignment shop, I'm packing them up, along with shoes and coats and bags, then I'm going to tackle the teenager's closets - suits that they wore once to a wedding, hiking boots for one trip..

That's today. Tomorrow I will NOT pass up the coin jar on the counter. AND my 20 year old only works 2 nights a week during his summer college hiatus - guess where he's going 2 days a week? To the soup kitchen with me. This is going to be a family affair.

Brian Miller said...

any time we take the need to care for others and put it in the hands of the government and large organization we take that away from the people. it will be through individuals that change is truly affected..

Mary said...

What a wonderful, thoughtful post. You are an inspiration. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

Reya Mellicker said...

Government has never been protective of groups like black people, poor people, gays, etc. It's best to see what IS instead of what I WISH were true.

Heading over to Lori's asap.

Sending love and wrapping your heart with light.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Great post and wonderful ideas. Certainly makes more sense than hoping Big Daddy Gov will solve all the problems.

Bruce Coltin said...

I agree with you totally, except maybe for one thing. Government has to get better at handling disasters.

There is no reason why excellent management practices can't be applied to future Katrinas and Gulf spill disasters. It takes having the right people in charge, which obviously has not been the case.

I am still hopeful that the next big bad thing will be handled competently. Go ahead, call me naive.

Nancy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bonnie said...

Excellent advice and a good example, Nancy.

Nancy said...

Bruce - We can hope, Bruce. I'll never give up hope.

Bonnie - Thanks.

ellen abbott said...

I agree so much with this. If we all did just one unnecessary kindness every day, think what change that would bring about. I'm trying to do that very thing. Offer a hand without being asked, pay the 12 cents for the kid in front of you in line who doesn't have quite enough money, stop and see if the person on the side of the road needs help. We need to realize that if our forward motion is paused, if we arrive at our destination five minutes later, it will not change the quality of our lives.

DJan said...

Yes, Nancy, you are right, and it's got to start today, now, with each one of us. What a wonderful inspiration you are. I do every one of those things you mentioned in your post except buying the Girl Scout cookies. I can't afford to have them around.

Cloudia said...

no day but today




Aloha from Hawaii

Comfort Spiral

Grandmother said...

Thank you for the good, important, vital reminder. We're in this together and when there's enough of us we'll reach the tipping point and change the world.

Kathy G said...

I think out grandparents and parents relied more on each other and not the government. Over the past few decades that's changed. It's time to get back to caring for other people, not relying on Washington.

Stray Cat said...

Thanks! I needed that insight. Giving a smile is powerful. "I am what I am because of who we all are." ~ Mother Theresa

lakeviewer said...

Yeah! Great habit! I might add, volunteer at your local pantry, at your local school and library. Give your time, as well as your money. Get involved.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

I totally agree with you...and if we each act individually, collectively we will move mountains! Excellent post, Nancy! Yes, you truly are an inspiration to so many of us!! Love, Janine XO

Von said...

You'll be setting up a LETS Group next Nancy!
Governments like to be paternalistic and suggest they solve all our problems and look after us.Myth and it takes away our rights to self-determination.Have fun!

Butternut Squash said...

Every day, in every way. "ONE PERSON CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE, AND EVERYONE SHOULD TRY" -JFK

Marguerite said...

What a wonderful, inspirational post! The Cajun culture is based on these concepts and I feel really blessed to be a part of such a giving, caring community. We help each other and have fun doing it!

linda said...

you have inspired me to open these eyes of mine a little wider and see the small opportunities from now on...i have long ago realized the gov is not there for us but that doesn't mean we can't be there for each other.
xx

博行 said...

我來湊熱鬧的~~^^ 要平安快樂哦.....................................................................

Simonbuc said...

It's a great point, Nancy - and most of us (including me) can do more than we do.

Unfortunately we still need the govt for the big stuff, like regulating industry and banking for instance. A lot of the problems we're seeing are down to neglect of this basic duty of care over quite a few years now.

(Norway has lots of offshore drilling, but they've never have any spills of any sort at all - because their regulations are much tighter.)

Now I'll shut up and go and do something constructive!

Nancy said...

Ellen - Excellent point.

DJan - I send the cookies to the troops. I can't have them around either! :-)

Cloudia - Exactly.

Grandmother - I truly believe that!

Kathy - I've come to exactly that conclusion.

Stray - Great quote.

lakeviewer - I've made some calls and plan to do exactly that. Great suggestion.

Sniffles - Thank you. I do think we can move mountains, and now is the time if there ever was one.

Von - I believe that is exactly what happens. We lose control because we accept so much from them.

Butternut - JFK was the last president to really motivate his people, I think.

Marguerite - That is so apparent in all of your posts. I am so grateful to know more about the Cajun culture.

linda - Exactly!

Simonbuc - I think improper oversight has caused most of the problems in our country. Eight years of a group of greedy hucksters. I had no idea Norway had so much offshore drilling. I often wonder - what will happen if we had a series of world wide earthquakes - would all of the oceans be ruined because of offshore drilling? We need a new energy source. Desperately.

Lori ann said...

Thank you Nancy.

"It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little - do what you can."

You have inspired me even more.

Pat said...

You are an inspiration to us all!

CrazyCris said...

I hear you! Any significant change has to come from the bottom up! Until there are enough people pressuring their government it won't change... 'cause the people in charge of changing it are the ones enjoying the status quo!

Every little bit counts, a few pennies a day from many people can mean a lot more to the recipient...

harmony said...

Thank you for the reminder that we are able to contribute, help, give, too. Anything helps.
It is devastating what happened to the Gulf Coast. One of my co-workers, the brewer, decided to make a beer--The Black Coast--in honor of the Gulf Coast. This Wednesday, we are having a fundraiser where I work, during which time, from 6-8 pm, all pints of the Black Coast sold will go directly to the Gulf Aid. We are selling them for $5 a pint and you figure 120 beers, per keg, and hopeful that we will be able to send $600, at least. Not much, but definitely something. And, it feels great to give back.....

Hilary said...

I totally agree. We might not be able to assist financially but we sure can give in so many ways from our hearts.