By Karen Osborne
Feeling inundated by New Year’s resolutions is nearly impossible to escape.
Whether it’s websites we subscribe to filling our inboxes with inspirational posts about a “New Year, New You,” or the long and detailed reflections on social media from family and friends -- what we want to accomplish in 2020 is center stage in your minds and all around us. I’ve read many posts from people who want to reprioritize their health, some who want to learn to unplug more to increase quality time with their loved ones and others who simply want less -- less clutter, less sugar, less screen time, less commitments, etc.
I admire each and every one of these goals and was inspired to sit down and put pen to paper to decide what my goals were for this fresh New Year. I wrote down whatever came to my mind: whether it was related to health, fitness, my marriage, career and wild dreams I keep quietly tucked in my heart. Upon completing my list, I went back to the top and began reading through each one -- fully expecting to feel proud of what I laid out for myself in the New Year. But instead, I found the more I read my list, the heavier my heart started to feel. I paused and wondered, “Where did my inspiration go?” When I was suddenly shaken by a small voice that whispered, “What if we wanted more and not just for ourselves?” Ouch.
Nowhere on my list did I set a goal to give more time or treasure to a cause. Nowhere on my list did I aspire to help my community more. Nowhere on my list did I look to give of myself to anything outside my world. While I would like to think I am generous, my goals and priorities said otherwise. There is no shame in this, but rather perspective.
We live our lives constantly in a state of busy with a steady stream of distraction. If it is not our households, children or career; it is social media, email and hobbies. We are constantly tied up and tethered to some need, someone or something. We are constantly keeping up with our own state of busy, which can make it difficult to keep track of anything outside of the ever-consuming pace of our own worlds.
I set my pen and paper down for a few days. I needed some time to sort through this quiet, yet mightily convicting voice. I circled the questions of, “What does it look like for me to go outside myself on a regular basis? What does it look like for me to love and support my community? What does it look like to be an agent of change in a world that needs so much right now?” And as much as I hoped for clear answers to rise up in me, instead a Max Lucado quote was the only thing that came, “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”
This has left me with more questions than answers in how I plan to walk forward in 2020, but I know one thing: My heart has shifted from “me” to “we”. As much as I would love to curb my love of chocolate after dinner each night, I would love even more to see a culture of philanthropy rise up. A culture that seeks to give to those who are shaping our communities, both locally and globally, and solving problems that cry out for solutions.
At EnSpice Children’s Foundation, our work takes us to places far from home. International projects can often feel distant from our own doorstep; as though the need is not ours to meet. So as we inspire a culture of philanthropy in 2020, let us not put boundaries on where we give and how we define what causes are “ours” and which ones “are not” or “are for others”.
“No one person can do everything, but everyone can do something” -- Fill in the blank for yourself. No one person can change everything or even solve a whole problem alone, but each person can offer something. What’s your something?
Here at EnSpice Children’s Foundation, ours would go a little like this:
“No one person can eradicate childhood malnutrition. But, if each person did a small part in their corner of the world -- it is possible. No child hungry. Together, we can!”
Let’s inspire a culture of philanthropy in 2020 and beyond!