By Joe Rector
Over the past couple of years, the partisanship and resulting animus between political sides has increased to a level that makes me wonder if our country will ever be all right. Politicians have managed to fracture the very fabric that makes American democracy so wonderful. The most important thing is for the American people to be kind to one another and to join forces for the common defense and good of the U.S.A. Therefore, I’m challenging each person who reads this and asking them to challenge at least one other person.
Each of us needs to find someone to help. These days, that shouldn’t be such a difficult undertaking. The individual that we search out shouldn’t be a family member or friend. Instead, the subjects for our projects should be folks we either don’t know at all or only know in passing. Yes, co-workers that are not well known can be included.
We don’t want to announce to them that we are about to help them with some situation. No, our goals are to get to know our choices well enough to know what they might need. Doing that will require a great deal of work. We have to spend time with folks enough to discover what areas of their lives need our help. Now, by help, I am not at all suggesting that we interject our opinions on what person should or shouldn’t do or what that we impose our values on them. No, we simply need to find people that we don’t know well and change that situation.
Once we’ve become familiar with those people, our goals are to find ways to offer help to them. Oh, yes, some people won’t need anything, and if that arises, we should choose someone else. For a block of individuals, financial help might be the key issue. Others could possibly need emotional support as they struggle with some area in their lives. Perhaps the most important help for others is simply having someone who will listen.
What is most important about this exercise is that each person who initiates it should observe the differences that his actions make. Does the one helped feel better? Does a friendship blossom? What things are learned by both people involved? Finally, has the act of reaching out to another person made a difference in how he is perceived?
This exercise takes a little effort and time. The benefits might be unmeasurable. In either case, I hope that we all might learn to be a bit more patient and empathetic with those whom we try to help. Who knows? We might help heal the great divide that now eats away at our country.
If you are brave enough to accept this challenge, let me know how it turns out. You can remain anonymous, but send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how things went…good or bad.