Courage Integrity Assertiveness Confidence Restraint

Friday, May 6, 2011

Philanthropy... It's Journal Entry Friday

1. The desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed esp. by the generous donation of money to good causes.

This is one of my favorite things to talk to teens about. So often, as teens, you can feel like "you're just not old enough" for anything...not old enough to drive, not old enough to have a job, not old enough to walk to school, not old enough for Prom, not old enough for... well, you can fill in the blanks.

So, I think it is natural that if this message is pounded through your head enough, you start to just ASSUME you are too young to do any BIG thing.

Well, I am here to tell you that is a not the case. There are many teens (and even younger kids) who have changed the lives of many people because they saw a need and they did something to fill it.

I talk to kids all the time about the "Oprah effect" - what's that? Well, it's my own term for feeling like your efforts aren't making a difference if you don't end up on Oprah. It's this kind of thinking, "Sure, I could help stock the shelves at the food pantry but no one would know I did it. So, it's not really helping anyone if it's not making the news."

You don't have to make the news to make a difference. You can affect the lives of the people around you by one simple (even anonymous) act of kindness. I believe we were put on this earth to give back humbly. Giving humbly means to give with your whole heart without NEEDING a "thank you" or any notoriety.

I have gotten many letters over the years from teens thanking me for affecting their lives in a way that helped shape who they are as adults and in some cases, as parents. (Yeah, that makes me feel old!) But I have never been on Oprah or in the news. Does not being on the news cancel out my impact on their  lives? Of course not!

So, what if I decided NOT to help them when they needed it b/c it wasn't going to get me on the news? Sounds pretty selfish, doesn't it?

What ONE THING do you want to affect?
What group of PEOPLE needs YOU?
Who is waiting for YOU to help?

Take some quiet time right now. Close the door, get out your journal, get comfy and close your eyes.

Think about the things that tug on your heart, the things you see about the world that concern you, maybe they are things on the  news that make you cry.

Maybe there are things that affect your life personally?
Is it a disease that needs research funding? (Cancer, fibromayalgia, etc)
Is it something about your family life that you makes you want to bless others in your same situation? (Adoption, single-parent homes, etc)
Some efforts can be for non-humans, abused animals or endangered species.

What is it for you?

Start making a list in your journal. You will probably have a long list.

There are MANY things that move me to tears but only a few that I feel I have the talents and passions to be able to help. Some I can support but don't feel the same passion for as I do for the ones I feel like I could stand up and speak to people about. I am in FULL support of rescuing dogs from puppy mills, but my talents are based in my connections with teens so that is "my" cause.

 Now, narrow it down to a couple that are the MOST meaningful to you.

Now, which one are you passionate enough about that you feel you could speak to a small group of people about and they would "join" you in your activism for this cause?

Your journal exercise today is to write what you would say to that small group about your cause. Write a mini-speech.

Use this journal page if you don't have one of your own:

Your "A HA!" MOMENT! Once you write your "mini speech" you may find yourself imagining organizing help efforts for your cause. Google what other people are doing to raise money or awareness. Some causes simply need people to collect items; winter coats, school supplies, etc.

Which friends would make a perfect committee?

GO! Make it happen!
Come back and let us know what you are doing! This is SO exciting!

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