Many times it is either education or work that opens our eyes. For one child who remained feeling on the outside of society even as a young adult, it was work. Work took her to Cambodia and while many boast of having taken an exotic vacation there, this young adult saw the real Cambodia and the bleak reality its children were living.
“We cannot close ourselves off to information and ignore the fact that millions of people are out there suffering. I honestly want to help. I don’t believe I feel differently from other people. I think we all want justice and equality, a chance for a life with meaning. All of us would like to believe that if we were in a bad situation someone would help us.” Upon returning home, this person did something about what she had seen. She contacted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
There is very little I could tell you about the actress Angelina Jolie. She is as well known for her movies as for her beauty. It may be hard to believe but she was once that outsider in her school – the girl with glasses and braces that no one befriended. The dropped out of high school and took a home course for her chosen profession of embalmer. A chance part at acting led her in a different direction.
It was not until she adopted her first child that the suicidal tendencies vanished. “I knew once I committed to Maddox, I would never be self-destructive again.” Jolie not only committed to her first son, she made a commitment to the children of the world. As a humanitarian she has traveled the globe and helped inspire others to also help.
It can really be that simple. You do something and somebody else follows. Behavior is contagious. We usually say that about inappropriate behavior but it is also true for good behavior patterns. “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Jane Goodall’s words may not seem like they could change the world but they speak the truth.
American statesman Thomas Jefferson once said “Action will delineate and define you.” We are all doing something. Right now you are reading this blog. Earlier I wrote it. What comes next? Will you simply sit back and ignore that people are starving and children are freezing or will you contribute to a food bank and go through your closet donating items you don’t need or haven’t worn for several years?
Very few of us have the public platform that Angelina Jolie has but we do have a platform in our own corner of the world. Edward Everett Hale was a nineteenth century historian, writer, and Unitarian clergyman who once stated “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
We are all someone. We may not have won multiple awards or have plentiful bank accounts but we can do something. What will you do today that benefits another? When we help someone, we help ourselves. When we help someone, we help the world. We can all do something.