Personal suffering and tragedies often drive us forward to inspire change in the world. But do we have to be touched by personal tragedy to start something big?
I’ve been reflecting recently on the number of charities and social support sites that have been inspired by personal tragedies.
2015’s Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty, began her campaign against domestic violence after seeing her son murdered on a cricket field by his own father. Other nominees have campaigned for issues related to other tragedies that have affected their lives. Louise Davidson started the Mother’s Day Classic fun run to support breast cancer after her mother died from the disease. Hetty Johnston began the child protection charity, Bravehearts, after discovering her daughter had been sexually assaulted by her own father.
SO… this leads us to a few questions. Does the personal impact of a life event lead to a stronger drive to remedy the world’s evils?
Perhaps in some circumstances the answer is yes. A personal connection to a project is a powerful thing. But this doesn’t mean that we all have to be touched by tragedy in order to give ourselves to others. After all, who is to judge whether something ‘big’ is to start a charity, or to give an encouraging word to the down-hearted?
It’s the simple kindnesses of life that are often overlooked or taken for granted. Recently, I took a group of students to visit the sick in hospital. The evident graciousness of the act really touched the lives of those patients there. Upon giving one lady a get-well card, she burst into tears of affection.
‘No-one has ever done this before for me,’ she said.
Whether it’s getting involved in a charity or organisation close to home, being involved in social outreach, or simply bringing a smile to a friend’s face, an act of generosity is never a meaningless act, but benefits not only the recipients, but also, ourselves.
SO… as Mahatma Ghandi said, why don’t you ‘be the change you want to see in the world’?