It’s the New Year and we all think of ways to improve ourselves. Stop smoking, lose weight and get in shape are usually the top three personal goals.
Maybe we could concentrate more on who we are and how we can make a difference in others’ lives. As author Wendy Mass stated, “Truly being able to see the needs of others around you, that is a rare gift. Only when you embrace it will you start to learn who you are and begin going after what you really want.”
Start with your own family unit. Do you implement the importance of community service, honesty, good work ethics, generosity, love and kindness to others? Do your children know what you expect from them, not only today, but for the rest of their lives? Do you walk the walk?
My parents made it clear how my sister and I were to be raised. As actress Helen Mirren was quoted in The Crown, “It’s not a choice, but a duty.” We have a duty to treat ourselves, and others, with the utmost respect, maintain an excellent reputation, and demonstrate proper manners at all times. It was never a choice.
Were we perfect daughters? No. We tested the perimeters of our “duties” on a daily basis, but my parents continued to work on us until we were adults with children of our own. They were both service oriented and instilled that desire to love and care for others in us. They were good teachers who set a strong example. They never let us become lax or fall into a comfort zone.
Comfort zones are where your dreams go to die. Don’t let this happen to you or anyone else. At any age, your community needs your help. Approach others’ problems or sadness with questions like, “How can I help?” Be prepared to stand behind your words.
In a recent study, people who volunteer have reported improved health, and significantly less depression and isolation. Volunteering can make you happy, relieve stress, anger and anxiety. It brings fun and fulfillment into your life and connects you to others.
Listen to your heart. There are so many places in need of volunteers. You could make a positive impact in a child’s life as a mentor, help senior citizens who live alone, volunteer at our local organization like the NSB Little Theatre, help veterans, families in need or donate your time to animal shelters.
People need your help. So many can’t make that change without help from others. Don’t let them down. Don’t let yourself or your family down. See what is right in front of your face and be that difference.