Lately I have noticed a rash of social media whining. It seems that we, as a society, have gotten into a really bad habit of complaining on the internet about things in our communities without taking any action to find a solution. Today, I say to you “It’s time to do something about it!”
If you see a problem that needs fixing, go and fix it. If you noticed something in your home needed repair, wouldn’t you repair it as soon as possible? I mean, if you repeatedly chose to not make the repair it would diminish the value of your home. By choosing to not find solutions to community problems, we are diminishing the value of our communities.
For a timely example, I present the saga of the school supplies. This time of year, the local news stations like to run stories about how expensive school supplies are. This is no big revelation. They’ve always been expensive. These news stories ultimately lead to an unproductive online debate over who should be picking up the tab: parents or schools. This argument has no winner. Ever. I suggest that instead of arguing over this issue, we take it upon ourselves to find a solution in our own community. Easy for me to say, because it’s already been done in my community. But easy for you too because I am willing to share with you what solution worked here. In Chandler, OK, the Rotary Club has made it an annual project to purchase school supplies for every child in kindergarten through sixth grade. How do they do this? First, they send out a form to all the parents asking for parents to pay $15 if they can. If they can’t, their child(ren) will not be excluded. Many parents pay the $15 and maybe a little more because that is really cheap for school supplies. Second, they do a few fundraisers throughout the year. They do a stew dinner, they sell ice cream at the local ice cream festival and they sell raffle tickets once a year. I think that’s it. Just three measly little fundraisers. Third, they ask businesses to donate. A few local businesses who are willing to donate to a cause like this can go a long way. Fourth, and finally, buying all these school supplies in bulk saves a lot of money. The average family is not going to be able to do this alone. It takes the larger group to purchase bulk items at a discount.
This particular solution to this particular problem is just one example. My point is this: If you see a problem in your community, do something about it. Complaining to the abyss via Facebook or Twitter adds fuel to a nasty fire, but does no good for anyone. To find solutions, start with a committee or focus group. You could recruit your friends and family or you could utilize groups that are already formed like civic groups, 4-H clubs, Home and Community Education Clubs, churches, or PTO groups. Join one of these groups or start your own. Talk to the leaders and parents in your communities about the problems you face, and brainstorm ideas for solutions. THEN, the KICKER is to put a plan into action.
We don’t need a politician to make our country great again. Let’s make our country great again by making our communities great again! It’s time to DO SOMETHING!