I’ve recently started to watch the news more intently – again. I had stopped, because the overwhelming amount of ‘bad news’ was getting to me.
All this bad news made me realize that I was hiding from something that I had the power to change; something I knew would take work and commitment on my part. However, as life became busier, a part of me was convinced that I was “too busy” to be investing my time into someone else life. I was ashamed of feeling that way, because I knew that mentality didn’t depict who I am nor who I want to be.
Unfortunately, it has become a cliché to simply advise someone to change the world, or “be the change that you want to see”; the mature seem to find it a redundant statement, while the young are grappling with the idea of what it truly means.
Frankly, as the world continues to undergo unbelievably tragic events, we continue to subconsciously bury this timeless, life-changing concept far beneath the surface. But do we care enough about not only our future, but the generations to come, to actually work to make change?
I’m sure we’ve all experienced that shocking moment where we hear the news of a young person who has developed the cure for a disease, or invented the next best thing. Does the name Louis Braille ring a bell? This amazing little boy was blinded at the age of three, and about a decade later, developed what we now know today as the Braille writing system. It is such news that causes you to hit the pause button for a moment, and to say, “what am I doing with my life?”
The realization that challenged me: how do people, like myself, whom have been granted great opportunities through education, career pursuits and personal accomplishments live comfortably with the fact that we’ve solely used what we’ve gained for our own purposes? In the meantime, the fabric of love, hospitality, charity, compassion, and life is being ripped apart in various ways all over the world.
The realization that convinced me: how do people, like myself, whom are aware of the unjustly, heart-wrenching treatments towards other humans sleep soundly at night, knowing that we have the power to make a better tomorrow for someone else? And then, I had to really take an axe to the root of my reality: was I, like many others, turning a blind eye to the difficult parts of our world’s reality, because it wasn’t hitting close enough to home.
What I did: Towards the end of last year (2017), I made a promise to myself, that I will no longer live the role of a by-stander. I will use whatever talents, resources, and connections I have to make a better tomorrow for my community. I began to reach out to organizations within the Hamilton area, such as Christians Against Poverty, that were already paving the way and creating significant impacts in the lives of people and families around me. Through debt counselling and active support, volunteers stand alongside helping individuals with one of the greatest struggles in life: financial stability. Though the work and dedication of these volunteers/workers will not be broadcasted on a world-wide news station, the imprints that have been left on numerous lives will not be forgotten.
Even with no sight, twelve years old Louis Braille found the solution to an issue that was unsolved for many years. He did not go to school to learn the formula and was a well-established adult, but he invested whatever he could into making that solution a reality. Now many years later, his effort continues to make life easier for many individuals.
So, do we care enough to take practical steps towards a better tomorrow? Or are we waiting until the ripple effect of disasters grace the streets of our communities – of our families and friends – before we act against it? I dare say that, by then, it may be too late. Is that something you can live with? It’s definitely not a story I want to hear about on the news.
– Shantel Maloney
Civil Engineering Technology ‘16
Follow Shantel @shantel_jenneil