Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Defining Our Own Actions - 8-19-09 Editor's Column

For many of us, the things we do in regards to our jobs or our hobbies
come, as the saying often goes, “naturally.”

We do things that we enjoy, things that we think we might enjoy, things
that makes us feel good and things that give us a rush.

However, what about the things that make others feel good?

This is where I think it tends to get interesting, mainly because it is a
point when a lot of the aforementioned reasons start to intertwine with
one another.

What brought me to this conclusion was a discussion with a friend of mine
about the things she has experienced by way of others that have touched
her life and the lives of those around her.

Based on her experience and the deeds that have been done, they were not
done with the goal of praise in mind. They were not done with the
expectation of repayment. They were not done to impress. They were
simply done to be done because it would help someone else.

She then posed the question to me about why I do what I do (why I enjoy my
job as a newspaper editor, why I involve myself in certain things, etc).
And from there we both came to the conclusion that it is out of caring
that I do what I do.

I care about the content that goes into this newspaper; I care about the
things that I involve myself in; I care about the people that surround me
in my daily life enough to take the time to do a good job if I can provide

What that means is that even though we might chalk up our actions to
enjoyment or curiosity, a lot of what we do on a regular basis is due to
the fact that we care.

For example, a business in a small community is contacted by a local
organization about a problem that said business could fix. Though the
business could charge the same rate it charges other customers for the
work - and rightfully do so - it considers the goal of the organization
and the financial strain that the work might provide.

At that point, the business tells the organization, we will take care of
you - don’t worry about it, and takes care of the work.

The business knows that it didn’t have to help. The business also knows
that it missed an opportunity to make a profit from a willing customer.

However, that’s not what is most important to the business in this
instance. Instead, the business is more interested in doing something
good for an organization that it believes in. While there may be some
praise after the fact, that is not the primary goal.

In the end, it all boils down to the business caring about the
organization’s mission enough to see past the value of a dollar or the
value of praise and to simply see the value of friendship and caring.

Now, while I cannot disclose the actual names, I can tell you that the
story of the business and the organization is true and that the feelings
are real. I only wish we could see more of it in our every day lives.

There is so much have and have-not in the world - even in Mahomet - that I
am confident that every person in the village of Mahomet could do a single
gesture of good will each week and could cover all 52 weeks in the year
and still have things left over to be done.

There are opportunities all around us to show that we care and to show
that we value people other than ourselves.

For some, it may be as simple as getting involved with a local food bank
or working with the homeless on the weekends through an outreach program.

For others, maybe it is giving of your money to help someone who is
struggling because of unemployment, health issues or other circumstances.

Whatever the case, we may be a world of individuals, but we are also
individuals who can work together to create better lives for future
generations through the simplicity and profundity of caring about someone
other than ourselves.

Take a moment to consider what you have done for another person out of a
pure desire to be helpful and show that you care about that person. If
you’re having trouble, you’re not the only one.

Those moments that come out of what most people call “the goodness of our
hearts,” are exceedingly rare in a society that is focused on the next
move to get ahead. However, I suppose that by being so rare, they become,
in turn, exceedingly special when they do happen.

The question now becomes, how are you going to impact someone in a special
way this week?

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