We know the story of the frog that is lulled into feeling secure in a simmering pan of water. Ultimately dying from that complacency. It is said, however, that a frog tossed into boiling water will jump right out, saving itself through responsive action. What an obvious metaphor as we weigh choices in this New Year. Too many of us have simmered for too long. Our best New Year’s resolution can be to leap to the service of our communities. We’ve got choices, and we CAN make a difference locally. But first, let’s leap to our own rescue! Now, LEAP!
WOW! THAT FEELS BETTER. WHAT HAPPENED?
Simply put, we wuz fooled. Over and over again. By politicians, pundits and even our friend in the mirror. This has been a time of dysfunction, disinformation, and distrust. But we start this new year better informed, closer to the Mueller Report and with lots of help on the way. And now that we’ve escaped the boiling pan we can catch our breath, regain our balance and move ahead. With a better sense of self, opportunity and responsibility. This is a time for us to relegate partisanship, tribalism and ideology to the universal principles of compassion, generosity, kindness and community…”community” in the broadest sense. We can pursue constructive civic engagement through advocacy and action with those organizations and programs that are important to us, our families and neighborhoods.
OK, I GET IT! WHAT NOW?
We’re experiencing the death throes and frantic flailings of those desperate politicos and their supporters who gained power when a majority of us let down our guard. We failed to recognize the gravity of the many legitimate concerns that were neglected by a Bipartisan Congress, and by many of us who should have been more engaged. We’re now gaining our civic equilibrium and are poised to do many great things. Starting in our own home towns.
I’m thankfully aware that most of you readers are veterans in community service. In fact, many of you are my role models for constructive activism. However, we all need to raise our civic engagement games to assure that our efforts and talents are best applied where they can be most beneficial. A little heart and mind discernment, if you will.
CHOOSING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
We all can write a check or drop a can in the barrel. And, while each of those actions is helpful, our communities need a significant boost of civic energy. Our public servants need our increased strategic support so they can better serve OUR best interests. In truth, we generally need to rethink our models of public service, discard them where ineffective and redesign them to meet the dynamics of our rapidly changing world. We each have our own personal issues and favorite causes, but there are many opportunities to serve. The business community, faith-based organizations and other non-profits are among the major sectors where we can apply our hearts, minds and experience in public service.
Our schools, parks, healthcare institutions, libraries, arts organizations, boards and commissions, and all levels of government need our help. Our civic quality of life depends on us. Simple, but true. We each represent the thread that weaves the fabric that becomes our community quilt. Our children need us. Our seniors need us. We need each other. Our political reps can boast that “I’ve got you covered,” yet their practical responses will be only as good as our expectations and support of their efforts.
A NEW YEAR…A RENEWED COMMITMENT
What a great time to recommit to doing what we can to make a difference in our neighborhoods and in our broader community. While we have varying abilities, we all can do something, and hopefully something more. While modeling good works for our families, friends and workplace colleagues.
In coming weeks, I’ll highlight specific organizations and programs that are making a difference in Austin. I’ll give links so Mosey readers can access them directly. In the interim, audit your personal civic engagement, see if your Better Angel could find a higher and better calling, and include that intention in your New Year’s plans. We can share our experience with each other, and reinforce our commitment to effective community service. Everyone wins in that process. Let’s Do This!