I’m astounded these days at the amount of hate there seems to be in the world. From “bullies” to “mean girls” to “shamers” to “haters,” the phenomenon seems to be everywhere: in schools, on playgrounds, in workplaces, on highways, in our halls of government, on TV, in music, in traditional media, and of course (and, perhaps, in particular) in social media.
Quite frankly, I don’t get it–and I can’t get over it. It affects me more deeply than I care to admit. I often wonder if the people spewing the hate 1) realize they are doing it, and 2) recognize what it is doing to THEM–and to the people around them.
Last summer, at my daughters’ graduations from college (from two DIFFERENT colleges, mind you), three out of their four commencement speakers offered the same advice: BE NICE.
THREE OUT OF FOUR.
“Play fair.” “Be respectful.” “Remember your friends.” And, from the legendary Mikhail Baryshnikov, “Be a mensch.”
I was struck by the irony that these college graduates were being given advice they should have mastered in pre-school–and it made me sad, because I knew that each and every one of those speakers had a point.
I believe that far too much time and energy these days is spent on pointing fingers, finding fault, placing blame, and calling names–rather than on reaching out, looking for solutions, collaborating with others, and compromising. Imagine what we could accomplish if we devoted less time to perseverating about problems and more time to solving them!
That is one of the reasons I love what I do.
At Boomers Leading Change in Health, our volunteers, AmeriCorps Encore Members, and certified health coverage guides focus their time and energy on finding solutions to the challenges faced by the thousands of individuals and families we serve every year. They don’t judge. They don’t point fingers. They don’t blame. They don’t shame.
And by changing the world for others, their own worlds are changed in the process. So, I would argue that perhaps serving others is one of the most effective antidotes for hate.
April is National Volunteerism Month. Not only is it a great time to celebrate the difference volunteers make across our community every day–it’s the perfect time to recognize the benefits those volunteers derive from serving others. Did you know that volunteering gives you the opportunity to stay connected socially–a benefit that becomes more and more important as we grow older? And did you know that volunteering can improve the way you feel–both physically and mentally? As many as 69% of BLCiH volunteers report feeling better physically, and 39% report feeling better mentally, as a result of their service activities. And did you know the positive effects of volunteering particularly benefit Adults 60+?
Serving others also offers you a great way to advance your career goals, whether you’re looking to build new skills or test-drive a new career path. In fact, over the past three years, a number of BLCiH volunteers and AmeriCorps Encore Members have parlayed the training and experiences they received through BLCiH into new careers in healthcare and other fields.
Finally, being of service to others is not only fulfilling, it can be a whole lot of FUN! What hobbies, interests, or issues are you most passionate about? Art, music, gardening, or reading? Homelessness, hunger, literacy, or healthcare? Baseball, soccer, hiking, or skiing? None of the above–or ALL of the above? Whatever your interests may be, there are a myriad of organizations across our community that are ready to put your skills, talents, and experience to good use in ways that are meaningful to them–and meaningful to YOU.
If you’ve been thinking you’d like to volunteer but simply don’t know where or how, give us a call at 303-4BOOMER today and we’ll be happy to help you find the right service opportunity for you–whether it’s related to healthcare or not.
The only thing we need to know now is: WHAT KIND OF DIFFERENCE DO YOU WANT TO MAKE?
Here’s to changing the world again by serving others–I hope you’ll join us . . .