Some of my fondest childhood memories are times that family got together to prepare a garden, pick berries or fruit, or working on a large building project. As we worked together, we laughed and created stronger bonds. We felt a sense of shared accomplishment. They were happy times.
Dad was a dedicated volunteer fireman and the entire family was involved in helping at the department and had to know how to answer the fire phone. We were encouraged to help with fundraising for organizations like the American Heart Association, the Cancer Society and March of Dimes. Through those, we got to know our neighbors and they knew us. Our young lives were full of context.
Anyone who has been involved in community efforts can relate the feeling of joy and accomplishment that comes with these kinds of experiences. They help us feel optimistic, encouraged, and connected to dedicated people. We become bonded and invested in the well being of those around us. Differences fade away. Involvement does that.
This is how cooperative efforts can change our world. We can become overwhelmed with thoughts and concerns for the larger world with problems too large for any single person. But we live in a small place. We can focus our compassionate efforts where we stand - right here and right now.
Cooperation and compassion are like muscles. If we don't exercise them, they grow weak. They require active use on a regular basis to grow strong. These are the muscles of character and when we build them collectively, we create harmony.
Let's challenge ourselves to build these muscles. Get out and do something that changes one small thing in your world. Connect with those doing good things in our community. Be part of it. That's greatness!