I turned 40 yesterday.
I gave birth to my 4th child last week.
In anticipation of these two major milestones, I’ve been deeply contemplating the last few years of where my life is going. What do I want to do with my time, talents, and passion. Am I fulfilling the purpose God has given me?
Do I even know what that purpose is?
When I started to revamp my blog a few months ago, I decided I wanted to make social good as one of my focuses. I brainstormed in my journal ideas of what will make me feel good about how I’m utilizing my energy and time. Helping push benevolence in the world was one of those goals.
So where do you start? When trying to be part of change in a big world, it feels like you are a small pebble…not even a rock, in the pond. However,
a small pebble can be all that is needed to cause a giant ripple.
I want to be that pebble.
First step? Get inspired.
I decided as part of my first step towards influencing social good in the world, to read for inspiration. My first read is Renewable, by Eileen Flanagan.
If you feel as if you’ve lost a certain level of gumption and passion from your youth, this may very well be the first book for you to start with to remind you of your former self. As an adult, wife, mother, and all of the other hats I wear, it is so easy to fall into the mundane and forget to live life towards passion and purpose. Renewable is the story of someone similar. Eileen Flanagan pens a biography focused on her transformation from global change agent, to suburban mother, and back to global change agent. The book begins on her venture in protesting at the White House at age 49…after years of living the classic mini-van mom life in suburbia. What is delicately revealed in each following chapter is how global concern and compassion is not a new perspective for Eileen Flanagan. We immediately are taken back to her post-college experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana. There we join her on her journey of self-discovery, global understanding, and commitment to serving the greater good. Beyond these life lessons, we are brought full circle as she reignites her passion for global good as she gets acquainted with Quaker activists.
Why Should You Read It?
Ever feel like you’ve lost your purpose and are not living up to your potential? Do you sometimes feel like you no longer have a gauge on what your potential may be? Renewable is good reminder for us all to view the world once again as something amazing that we need to be part of. Aside from following her self-transformation as a Peace Corps volunteer, the journey is also full of significant cultural lessons. For example, early on she learns that in Botswana, there is no cultural equivalent to “borrowing” or “lending”. Giving and sharing with your neighbors is not only an expectation, but a norm for their society. Saying “please” is considered rude as no one is required to beg each other for anything, unless there is distrust for the person you are asking help from.
Consequently, these cultural awakenings and references to global history in Africa and other countries abroad make this a perfect read for your middle school and high school students. What a better way to get young future adults to get empowered to cause global change.
What’s the next step? Find a vehicle(s) to focus some time and effort into.
This is definitely more open ended, but think about causes, issues, and concerns that you want to help resolve. There can be many on your list-organizations, individuals, locales. However, you only need to start with one.
If you are at a loss of where to start your cause, I suggest you read the following:
100 Under $100: One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women by Betsy Teutsch is a perfect place to start. Consider it a reference guide to a variety of global causes around the world that affect women. There are images, descriptions, and contact information on organizations and individuals who are leading the charge on issues including women’s health, water and sanitation hygiene, subsistence farming, transportation, domestic technology, finance, and more.
One organization that I want to take a closer look at for involvement is The Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK). I found it under the “School Lunch” category and was happy to see that they serve my parents’ homeland of the Philippines. They work to ensure that all children have the opportunity for a healthy meal at school, which may be the only full healthy meal they have each day. We take this for granted with public education in the United States. Being an educator, I think a healthy meal is important for students to be able to learn and perform well at school. What is even more amazing about this organization, is that it combines eco-agriculture with the schools they support. Rather than simply handing out food to the schools, they empower the schools to grow their own vegetables and fruits through sustainable techniques.
Why Should You Read It?
It’s an excellent resource for finding tons of organizations that are existing around the world to empower women. Whether you are looking for a place to start, or are looking for additional movements to support, this is a great reference.
So this is my start. Will I start a ripple? I may or may not, but I’m certainly going to try. What about you? Will you accept my challenge in starting a ripple?