4.9 Making a Difference

The essay on Change (https://allevenson.wordpress.com/the-journal/4-6-change/) is about my interest in the changes I’ve observed in my lifetime in the bedrock institutions of religion and national politics.  The pursuit of this topic has become an important theme of my Travels with Lightnin’

I am still collecting reactions to the simple questions that elicit gut responses.  But it will be some time before my canvass rises to the level of blog-worthy essay.

Furthermore, the essay on Change prompted Kristine to post a comment about dangerous forces at work in the world.  Left unsaid in her post is what she is doing about them.

This leads me to still another observation, that of another change as significant as the institutional ones–the rise of individual activism in this country in the last 50 years.  This notion deserves a more down-to-earth name.  More simply, there are more people who believe—as individuals–they can make a difference.

Controversy aside, the notion behind Greg Mortenson’s  “Three Cups of Tea” is alive and well in many people in this country.

My college friend, John, was a co-defendant is a landmark gay rights case Romer vs. Evans decided by the supreme court in 1994.

Kristine, whom I have never met, only corresponded with via email, coordinates grass roots support to influence state-level legislation on social issues in her home state.

Alon Shalev, a Bay Area writer, whose daily blog, Left Coast Voices, appears on my Blogs I Like Page, (https://allevenson.wordpress.com/blogs-i-like).  His genre is fiction for social change.  His last book, the “Accidental Activist” is available through your indie bookstore or online.

While I admire those who endeavor to effect change as activists in movements, I admire equally, and relate to better, those who do good work one person at a time.

Dr Mike, my new pal from the RV world, introduced me to Stand Down where he volunteers.  Stand Down’s mission is to assist veterans who have lost their ability to lead productive lives as a result of mental or physical wounds regardless of whether suffered in combat.  In practical real-life ways, Stand Down helps these men regain their independence.

Anne Fox’ encouragement has made a difference for scores of wannabes in search of their voice as writers.

I need to add to my bucket list of topics I visit when meeting people in the act of being themselves.  If I ask, I know I will find some great stories by asking, “Who is the best example you know who makes a difference?” 

I’ll bet you know at least one person who, without calling attention to themselves, commits regular acts of kindness and makes a difference.

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11 Responses to 4.9 Making a Difference

  1. Anne Fox says:

    Thank you for including me on the list.

  2. Dave L says:

    I’m thinking it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t. All of the people I know reach out when the opportunity presents and many are inclined to create their own. I think every human being has a desire to be kind. I have also observed that as we are knocked around by our mistakes, ambushed with our success, we develop a few caluses — and they scab over that neighborly inclination with cynicism and boredom. But it’s there, just the same, if waiting.

    • allevenson says:

      I am thinking you run with a better class of people than I do. More to the point, since my orientation is still related to the business world that ruled most of my hours. There was some competitiveness but there was more of people being busy working on their own deals. Not a lot of spare time or selfless energy unless it was industry related. A different experience where I could count on the 20% who would step up and do 80% of the work.

      As I meet more people in their liesure years, I expect I will see more people giving something back.

  3. Alan stowell says:

    Yea all right!
    I met a great guy in Puerto Rico circa 1970(?) who sold me a Pearson Triton!
    Changed my life for the best!
    After that I became a charter yacht captain and the greatest adventure in my life started!
    And continues…….guess who it is!

    • allevenson says:

      I remember that deal. The owner, Dr Gene something had left Puerto Rico and didn’t much like owning a boat a thousand miles away. I thought he might be just motivated enough to accept a deal from a young guy long on charm and short on cash. It worked out well for everyone. I dont know what happened to Gene but I am glad that you and I have traded a lot of sea stories over the years. AL

  4. Christine Thomas says:

    I saw on the Dr. Oz show that there are 13,000 HOMELESS female veterans! What? Do they not get a gov’t check every month? This is a disgrace-hey-I have an extra room in my house, one can stay here!

  5. john miller says:

    Al
    Thank you for the mention. The federal State Department Project I have taught under in both India and Turkey uses “transformational diplomacy” as its theme. In life we transform ourselves and others by one on one contact. No educational system has been changed by my presence. Nevertheless, a few individuals have been taught to think critically (rather than rote learning) and to dream. This year this of my students received short term fellowships to US, four are going to Erasmus exchanges in Hungary, Italy, Germany and Romania, etc. Dreaming, an underdeveloped talent in life! Just finished teaching Emerson and Thoreau on Self Reliance, Civil Disobedience, Walden Pond. The Profe as SUBVERSIVE in repressive Turkey! Enjoying your tales and photos John

  6. michael joyce says:

    There are many unseen folks who are the connecting mechanisms for others to do volunteer work, and volunteer work is, I think, a primary source of a sense of belonging to, and participating in meaningful community in an urban setting.

    My hat is off to those who reach out, and draw in, volunteers!

  7. karen wittgraf says:

    I know a guy named Al that touches strangers with caring about their stories, thus allowing them to feel less lonely and unimportant in this world. I know a gal named Jane that heard a family arguing and yelling at their children. She brought them a basket of her artfully designed Easter eggs. It’s an attitude that changes the world, the very simple concept of “loving thy neighbor”.

  8. Irv Hamilton says:

    I’m not sure how I ended up in this comments section. But I’ll take advantage of it with a comment. As a soldier, then after leaving the Army, I have had the good fortune to have known several real heroes. Drawing on those real stories, I used heroism as a significant theme in my novel “A 20-Minute War”. The thing that has fascinated me is the modesty of the heroes I have known. Ask why they had put their lives on the line, and you are likely to get an answer such as, “My squad was counting on me” or “My buddy needed a hand.”

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