Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Do What You Can, Whenever You Can

I just finished reading the book, The End of Your Life Book Club, an inspiring true story of a mother/son book club, started after the mother's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. The mother, Mary Anne, has spent her life as a humanitarian, traveling the world and working in her home state of New York, to address many human rights causes, especially those of refugees. At one point in the book, after reading a particularly heart-wrenching story, Mary Anne's son, Will, tells her that he feels guilty for not doing more to help people. I was so struck by Mary Anne's response,

"Of course you could do more - you can always do more, and you should do more - but still, the important thing is to do what you can, whenever you can. You just do your best, and that's all you can do. Too many people use the excuse that they don't think they can do enough, so they decide they don't have to do anything. There's never a good excuse for not doing anything - even if it's just to sign something, or send a small contribution, or invite a newly settled refugee family over for Thanksgiving." (p. 255)

When I worked as a social worker, I had a sense of satisfaction that part of every day was spent helping people. I knew I wasn't making huge changes, or taking on worldwide causes, but each day I helped kids to hopefully feel better about themselves, and to be able to spend more time learning.

As a mom, I know the importance of this work. I know that raising loving, caring, good citizens is a daily contribution to the greater good. Unfortunately, in the trenches, it doesn't always feel that way. I definitely spend time wishing I was doing more to help people who are struggling. Mary Anne's words struck a cord with me. I definitely need to recognize and appreciate how important my children, and my care of them, is in the big picture, but I also need to do whatever else I can, whenever I can to help the people around me who may need a little something from me.

Let's do it! Let's all try to do something for someone. It doesn't matter what. It doesn't matter when. When you feel the urge, give in to it! I'll try to do the same!

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