Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Walking the talk

(Borrowed from an article)

Offering Pretend Lasagne

There are fewer questions less answerable than "What can I do to help?" It's bad enough when lobbed at a harried hostess, but even more unanswerable for someone who's really struggling. The urge to ask is understandable: Chances are, you don't know what someone who has suffered a terrible loss or is struggling with some unthinkable disease has gone through. So you ask the question 47 times, and when the person doesn't have a response, you throw your hands up and think, "Well, I tried..." And here's the thing: You do get friend credit for trying. But you get even more for actually doing. Are they not responding to calls but seem happy to get emails? Are they drop-in averse? Start with a small, concrete way to make the day easier, whether it's having groceries delivered or coming over to walk her dog, and do it in the least obtrusive manner possible.

"Offering pretend lasagne" and "Slactivism" are pet peeves of mine. In the words of the all-knowing Yoda, "Do or do not. There is no try".

I've been there more than once, there is often not much you can think of that can "help" until someone does something. Someone pops over for a coffee and a chat, drops of a meal to be eaten now or frozen for later, offers to clean or iron. In one situation we "won" a christmas hamper raffle we didn't have a ticket in. Sometimes even if you do know what would help you don't always feel comfortable asking for or accepting the help. There can be days where the difference between having someone to talk to and not, have a profound effect on your ability to cope.

If there is some cause or disease or other thing you feel strongly about, *do* something about it. Its one thing to repost memes and status updates and quite another to actually do something. You could donate to the charity; get involved in a support group or some other physical action that helps. Posting things "like/repost if you know someone who has " doesn't help anyone. It just fills up space and makes you feel better for the 30 seconds you remember you posted it. Why not do something constructive and hold on the knowledge that you have actually done something meaningful to help in that thing you care about.

If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody

If you think I am sitting back on top of my hill pointing fingers I'd like you to know that at 11/12 and 13 years old I fund raised for my local asthma foundation. I gave up all of my weekends to sell raffle tickets, badges, whatever people would spend a dollar on, so that I could contribute to research into asthma. Why? Both my parents and my brothers suffered from asthma. My middle brother spent the majority of his younger years in hospital due to the severity of it. 

Later I joined Amnesty International after being horrified by the injustices in the world and spent a few years either fund raising or writing letters.

Since I was 15 I have been fundraising for the Cancer council. My parents both had cancer when I was a teenager. Earlier this year I facilitated the "Prints Project" for the cancer lodges to give patients who were staying away from home to have their treatments something to look at other than a blank wall, something to trigger memories of happier times, something to ease the pain for however long. There was a 58 prints project for the Townsville and Rockhampton lodges and the 100 prints for the Charles Wanstall Apex Lodge (Brisbane)  I have continued to raise funds for the cancer council and other cancer research charities through fun runs and my own donations.

I give what I can, when I can. I get involved as much as I can. I throw in whatever money I have. I do fun runs to raise funds. Facilitate print projects, collecting, framing and transporting photographs. I write letters. Build websites and petitions. I support people living with cancer, brain tumours, asthma, depression, mental illness and a few other issues through moderating forums, talking to them, sharing with them, delivering groceries, food, gift cards. Doing whatever I can that will help them the most. I have also completely changed the direction of my life so that I can assist with brain tumour research in a very hands on way.

You don't have to throw your whole life into supporting the things that you believe in, but you can take that time you would have spent posting a status update to donate a dollar
 to something meaningful to you.