“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi
2020 has been a year for the books. A worldwide pandemic, quarantine, layoffs, earthquakes, fires, demon locusts, food shortages, economic crises, George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing Black Lives Matter movement…the list goes on and on. As Melissa and I have discussed what we could share on her platform that would help her readers, we landed upon the idea of doing a post that will hopefully inspire each of us to be the good the world so desperately needs right now.
Everyone has been affected in some way by the events of this year. It has been a difficult time for all. While people’s needs vary, I truly believe that one of the best ways we can help each other will be by being the good the world needs. Here are four tips I have for each of us to focus on being the good:
- Don’t judge. I have some friends who completely let their yard go during quarantine. Their neighbors grew irritated by their neglect and started criticizing this family. They felt awful when the family put their house up for sale and announced they were getting a divorce. The neighbors’ judgement melted into sympathy and a desire to help. I have been able to take my own advice of not judging during this time of great unrest. The protests, violence, and sharing of varying opinions have inspired me to shelve my initial opinions and not judge those whose views are different from mine. I have trusted that their opinions are warranted and that they have a reason for how they are living or what they think. Bottom line: We can be the good by not judging others.
- Listen and learn. Continuing on in that vein, if you differ in opinions with another individual, now is the time to listen to and learn from one another. I have a dear friend from Louisiana. She and many others have been selfless, kind, and brave in raising their voices to educate others about the realities of being black in America. I have learned so much from listening to this friend of mine, as well as several books on racism (White Fragility, So You Want to Talk About Race, How to Be an Anti-Racist). I am trying to educate myself by listening to others and learning from them. This enables me to understand a perspective different than mine, and to then do good with that gleaned wisdom. Bottom line: We can be the good by listening to and learning from others.
- Teach. As I have learned about racial inequality, the realities of defunding the police, the controversial truth about wearing a mask to stave off Coronavirus, etc, my desire to share what I’ve learned has increased dramatically. I will teach my children that black lives matter. I will help my family members of the older generation be more open to changing their opinions on those different from us. Bottom line: We can be the good by sharing with others the valuable things we are learning.
- Give. Quite possibly the most important step in being the good is giving–of our time, our money, our talents… of ourselves. As I said in the introduction, everyone is hurting and affected by the events of this year. Everyone could use kindness. Everyone could use service. Maybe you serve by giving a smile to a tired grocery worker or mailman, or maybe you donate to local/national causes that will benefit those in need, or maybe you take dinner to the family in your neighborhood that is struggling. Bottom line: Regardless of what you do, do something. By giving, serving, and loving others, we can be the good!
If you and I can commit to being the good we wish to see in the world, we will be a bright spot in the lives of those who are struggling during these difficult times. We can be the good as we are careful to not judge others for how they are living or for the opinions they fight for. We can be the good as we try to listen and learn from others–especially those who are different from us. We can be the good as we try to teach others and share what we are learning in our quest to be good. And lastly, we can be the good as we give of our time, resources, and talents. I have been the recipient of the goodness of others during this time of uncertainty. I commit to being the good, and I hope you do, too.
Melissa Cluff is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in North Texas, providing face-to-face and telehealth therapy options to clients in Texas.
Tawny May is a guest writer coming at you from the peaks of Utah. She has bachelor’s degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and Spanish, and writes for the nonprofit Nurturing Marriage. She enjoys wrangling her two children, trail running with her dog child, and creating things for Tawny May Ink.
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