Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The little things do matter

I have grown up in a Christian home, with a large family; each of these factors in my life have greatly affected the development of my personality throughout the years. At times, living in as large of a family as mine (nine people in all, not to mention the many childhood pets) has seemed like being a part of a small community. In fact, it has taught me many life lessons, including how important it is to be involved with the world around you, even if you will only end up affecting a small portion of it. For example, I've often aided a sibling with his or her math homework. This act that only helps one person in such a large world may seem to be almost worthless, a waste of time. However, on occasion, one of my siblings has told me how since they learned the concepts behind the mathematics so well, they were then able to help others to better understand it as well. Having grown up as a christian, I've been taught that being involved is not simply a charitable action, it is a responsibility that I have adopted as being a believer in Jesus Christ. Being a part of a community allows for me as a believer to share God's love through actions of aid and participation towards a greater good.

Through my life, I have learned many skills, abilities and attributes that can prove to be useful in a socially active environment. Some of those abilities include leadership, public speaking, patience, being observant, being flexible and controlling my emotions. Among these, I would say that being observant and flexible are my most useful skills, by far. With these two, I am able to assess a group and the situation that they are in, and then implement myself into the group the best way possible. This could mean that I wind up doing research, acting as a spokesperson, remaining quiet, making suggestions, being an encourager or stepping in as a leader for the group. The important part is not that I do as I want, but that I do what is best for the group, and when I can do that, then I am doing what is best for what the group stands for. It requires patience, the ability to see the bigger picture at hand and most of all humility. Needless to say, I wasn't born with these characteristics and I still have yet to perfect them, but with every opportunity I do my best to practice these skills in hopes of bettering them.

I find that cynicism is a severe problem as far as inhibitors to social involvement go. There is undoubtedly an underlying concept in America that seems to have been accepted by the public in large. This idea suggests that our actions will do little to change the world around us, leading to inactive Americans that use this concept as an excuse for their lack of involvement. Often, I hear this same, mind numbingly stupid excuse for why individuals are not doing something to change an aspect in the world that they do not agree with. This absurd line of logic doesn't make very much sense to me as it does nothing to stop their problems, nor their complaining for that matter; instead, it only allows the problem to continue without any hindrance or challenge, accomplishing nothing at all indeed. Consider my story at the beginning of this post, how I was able to perform the small task of teaching my siblings how to better understand a particular part of their math assignments. Like I mentioned, this task may have seemed fairly trivial in the larger picture and a more skeptical person may have stated that this was a waste. However, that little act of aid was replicated who knows how many times now, affecting more lives than I had intended for it to. In that one small act, many were eventually helped. This is how I choose to view our actions in life, instead of submitting to the rather depressing view that nothing that we do can change the world. So instead, live and help, no matter the apparent potency of your actions.


Ana Chandler said...

Very good blog tyler, I loved the comment about how you helped you siblings which later allowed them to help other. This is a great example for if we are able to educate ourselves about the world then we can educate other people and so on and so forth.

Dr. V said...

I agree with your cynicism comment. I know people who have told me that feeding the homeless is useless. I often get very upset because what are the options: Letting someone starve or giving them one more meal. Yes, poverty will probably be with us forever but at least I know I've helped someone feel better for one more day. Many of the homeless are the working poor and not drunks, etc.

Enrique Cardon said...

Some times the small things are what add up. It really is a ripple effect. By just helping that one person, you may have started a never ending chian of assistance. I think that a lot of people forget that even the small things count.

I am also glad to hear how flexible you are. I know that quality in you will definitely help us be successful in the class!