Photos courtesy of Keisha Mitchell.
There’s something that you have to give that the world is waiting on! And, when you give it, it makes life better for all.
Life is like a gift bag – you just never know what you are going to get. But, the only requirement is that you have to use whatever is in the package to improve your life and someone else’s.
So, imagine that someone had a better day because you showed up. Imagine that your knowledge of technology helped to save a family business. Imagine that your migration and ascent to executive office opened a channel for others in your home country to advance themselves and their families. Imagine that just a few moments given away each week to someone in need of what you have could add up to a lifetime achievement of social responsibility and excellence in service.
As we enter the holiday season, I want to focus on the positive power of giving back to society for having the opportunity to live in community with others.
As professionals, psychologists consider altruism essential in attaining psychological well-being. Altruism describes one’s motive for helping behavior that is primarily intended to relieve another person’s distress, with little or no regard for the helper’s self-interest. It is absolutely voluntary, deliberate, and motivated by concern for another person’s welfare. The simple act of kindness is at the core of altruism as these individuals expect no repayment, no reciprocity, no gratitude, no recognition, nor any other benefits (Batson, 1991; https://psychology.iresearchnet.com/social-psychology/prosocial-behavior/altruism/ ). Seminal works by Viktor Frankl (1946) on man’s search for meaning, and Corey Keyes (2002) on flourishing, add significant value this pool of knowledge.
And, it’s still true! One of the most altruistic persons that I know who has a passion for young people declined to be featured because they simply wanted to focus on the kids, sowing seeds into their lives hoping that one day it will bear fruit.
But the world is full of altruistic individuals using whatever platform they have to reinvest into society. They may be your neighbours who visit, provide meals and other caregiving services in the death or critical illness of a loved one. They may be teachers who mentor kids and teach them social problem-solving skills. It may be the entrepreneur, engineer, lawyer, doctor, plumber, electrician, nurse, or seamstress who shares knowledge and practical help with an underserved community. In untold ways, these altruistic ones stimulate the dreams of their young charges to imagine the impossible one day.
Don’t ever think that what you have to give is too small – it may be just enough for the person who is on your mind. Give it anyway!
Let me share with you just a few examples that have come across my path this weekend. First, as the world says goodbye to a world leader, former American President, George H.W. Bush, one of my most captivating images of him is being seated with a shaved head and holding a 2 year old baby with no hair. Why? Because the child had been undergoing treatment for leukemia and had lost all his hair due to the chemotherapy. He wanted to encourage the family and to raise public awareness of the disease.
Another amazing story was shared with me of a man who migrated from his village in Africa to a thriving metropolis in the United States. He graduated from his training program in computing at home without ever seeing or touching a computer. Now he has become a senior executive at a leading industrial firm and works with emerging technology and computers everyday. He is busy giving back by raising awareness about the poverty still faced by children in his hometown, and is opening up channels for them to access technology and learn skills that will transform their lives for ever.
But what if you don’t have the skills to help someone in need? Do you know someone who does? Then make the introduction and step out of the way!
Yesterday, someone contacted me concerning medical treatment for a serious condition. I knew of several options that could be explored. But, I settled on one lady whose professionalism, charm, and commitment to her patient resonated with me. Why her? Because I saw her work with my Dad in his weakened state as a result of prostate cancer. She could get him to smile even while he was in pain as she manipulated his limbs. Because she went the extra mile, I knew that anyone that she recommended would do the same.
So, social responsibility is not beyond you, no matter your state or estate. Someone, somewhere, needs what you have. Use your platform and give what you can.
Check out a few of the ways I have packaged some of my knowledge to enlarge your world at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHGm_Vc-MtM .
Photo by Juliet Mitchell (Rutgers Masters Newspaper).