Posts Tagged With: pay it forward

Do your Homework then DO SOMETHING in 2016!

Happy 2016 + 13 days!

I’ve spent the last 30 months studying transnational issues affecting the world we live in; terrorism (at home and abroad), organized crime, corruption, violence against women, obesity, religious persecution, cyber crime, migration, and communicable diseases just to name a few.  I’ve spoken to leaders from all over the world about possible solutions to these challenges.  The reason these are challenges is because of the complexity and global impact any one approach to solving them faces. Citizens of the world do get a vote when it comes to solving complex problems.

However, before you vote, do your homework!  Evolve from baby bird status where you only ingest chewed up food from a provider, to hunting for facts about global issues yourself.  Take an interest in understanding the world from several view points.

Understand what a bad day feels like for a 7-year old boy from Syria, Bangui, or Ghazni.

Talk to someone who’s survived an earthquake or recovered from malaria.

Sit in a room and listen to someone who’s been ostracized or badly beaten for their faith.

Fellowship with someone struggling with a family member who’s been brainwashed to join a violent extremist group and their fears of never seeing their loved on again.

Talk to the young woman who struggled to get out of a bad neighborhood, made her way through school, and now can’t find a job that pays well enough to cover food and her student loans.

Talk to someone with a family member suffering from an addiction.

Fellowship with a veteran (of any war) and hear their stories of defending freedom in other lands or saving lives in disease-ravaged cities.

You’ll get a fresh perspective on global problems and a better appreciation of what it takes to get to a solution.  More importantly, you’ll be moved to action.

Far too many people sit around waiting for a biased opinion to latch on to, and then are happy to castigate those with different opinions from theirs. Not as many are willing to step away from their keyboards to be part of the solution to ANYTHING.

While many people have made resolutions to improve themselves and should now be approaching the 2-week “milestone of death”, I challenge you to do something for the space between your ears and for others.  LEARN MORE about the world around you and the challenges we face then in 2016, DO SOMETHING to make a fraction of a dent in improving conditions for someone facing any of the challenges mentioned above.

3-2-1, let’s go!

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Be Kind to Strangers 

I really enjoy train travel. As much as I like driving for hours at a time, I also enjoy being a train passenger lost in a world camouflaged by my headphones. A world where I laugh quietly at Robin Williams’ jokes or bob my head to a LeCrae song. I thought this weekend’s trip to watch my son’s football game would be typical of my previous travels. Until I arrived at the train platform and realized it was a holiday weekend in the country of my residence. EVERYONE was traveling; the train was crowded and some of the travelers had already had a few hours head start on drinking. As I approached my stop, I tried to squeeze out of my seat and head to the door without causing a commotion.
I made it out before the train’s doors were shut closed and headed for my connecting platform then it hit me: I didn’t have my cellphone. Ugh!

It must have fallen out of my pocket in my attempts to squeeze out of the compartment. Double-ugh!!

I had just printed 250 business cards with that phone number listed. Triple ugh!!!

That was the number mum routinely sends me text messages on. #%<**##!!!!

I stood there helplessly for about a minute, then gathered my thoughts and went into problem-solving mode. I reached for my other phone (yes, I have two phones–don’t judge) and called my missing phone.

“Hello?” The male voice on the other questioned. I asked if he spoke English and told him I had dropped my phone on the train. He said he did, told me to hold, and then hung up. aargh!!
I took a deep breath, waited 30 seconds and called again. This time a female voice answered. Her English was better and I could feel my stress level dropping as we made arrangements for me to get the phone back on my return journey.

I have to confess I had believed the worst would happen. I didn’t anticipate a stranger would go out of their way to return a high end smartphone. I rushed to buy a gift to give this kind stranger when we met. Last night, during the exchange, I gave her a bottle of wine, shook her boyfriend’s hand as he said: “welcome to our country!”

I smiled. It was indeed an excellent way to leave a positive impression on a visitor.
I’m a big fan of “paying it forward” and a believer in Hebrews 13:2:

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

Not calling myself an angel, far from it. Just reinforcing the power of kindness when opportunities present themselves. Just be kind…period. In fact, make it a point to aggressively seek ways to be kind to strangers. Try doing it without looking for anything in return. Sometimes we feel we deserve a pat on the back. Don’t. It’s like wondering why you didn’t get nominated for the “volunteer of the year” award.  Really?

Challenge for the week: Find ways to be a secret giver.

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