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Are We Doing Enough Good?

I read an excellent short post by Bruce Kasanoff (Am I Doing Enough Good?) this morning about doing enough good for others. His premise was that there are all kinds of good works, and he wasn’t sure that some of his actions were “good” enough. Funny how those who do so much for others so often question themselves […]

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I read an excellent short post by Bruce Kasanoff (Am I Doing Enough Good?) this morning about doing enough good for others.

His premise was that there are all kinds of good works, and he wasn’t sure that some of his actions were “good” enough.

Funny how those who do so much for others so often question themselves (eyes on you, Bruce!).

But what is “enough good,” anyway?

Are we sometimes judging ourselves too harshly?

Do we ever give up, thinking that one person can’t make a significant change in the world?

But if we take a minute to reflect, we realize how powerful one voice can become, even though it’ll always start in a small way.

Did Abraham Lincoln know as a young man he’d be the President of the United States and be remembered for the Gettysburg Address?

Could Martin Luther King, Jr., ever have thought as a young black man in the south he’d lead a march on Washington, D.C., and start the modern American Civil Rights Movement with his “I Have a Dream!” speech?

How about Mahatma Gandhi? He trained to be a lawyer, for heaven’s sake, not a prophet. Not the leader of a nonviolent movement. Not a man whose very name evokes the spirit of the righteous, of religious tolerance.

Did Jonas Salk ever think he’d be part of a group that would create the first vaccine for polio, saving countless millions of lives?

Can we even begin to imagine where Greta Thunberg might be in 10 or 20 years, assuming our small blue planet still sustains life as we know it?

It’s unlikely that any of us will reach those heights, but we don’t need to, do we? We can choose to make a small difference in our own neighborhoods, helping local families with everything from having enough food (donating to food pantries) to clothing (charitable outlets) to helping build affordable housing (Habitat for Humanity).

We can purchase a few extra cans of vegetables or extra pairs of socks and donate them. We can offer our time – and money, if we have it to spare – and serve in organizations that help others climb the ladder to a better life.

We can give a hand up, not a handout.

We can decide to buy more responsibly, waste less, and recycle everything possible. 

We can read a book to a child and maybe ignite a love of reading and learning.

We can find support for a neighbor who’s overwhelmed with caring for a sick relative.

We can decide to smile at a harried mom in the store, carry a package that’s clearly too heavy for someone struggling with it, shovel a sidewalk for an elderly neighbor, or even just check on a friend we haven’t talked with in a week or two.

“Doing Good” doesn’t have to mean only focusing on those BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) we heard about years ago; when many do even one small thing, the ripple effect can be huge!

And as Kevin Monroe wrote in his most excellent latest article: “How do you change the world? One ZIP code, one block at a time.

What are your thoughts on this? How do you make a difference in others’ lives?

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