Looking Outward

Fridays here are usually when you are challenged to be introspective. Since this week has been out of sync with the usual format, I thought I’d continue that break and encourage a look outward instead.

Last night I had the opportunity to attend our local “Recital with a Cause,” a showcase of brilliant young musicians supporting Rotary International’s Polio Plus. When I told my husband where I was headed he came back with “Polio?” Yes, polio. According to the event material, polio is still active in Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. As long as children in those countries are susceptible to the disease, our children here continue to need polio vaccinations as well.

Seeing Pakistan in the list, I was reminded of Greg Mortenson’s book Three Cups of Tea and decided that this would be the book to share as I close out my book recommendations this week. For those unfamiliar with the story, Three Cups of Tea tells the tale of how Mortenson, an experienced climber, got lost in Pakistan as he came off an unsuccessful climb of K2. The hospitality and generosity of the people he met in Korphe inspired him to return the favor by building a school for the community.

After a series of significant hardships, Mortenson was successful in building the school in Korphe and then continued his efforts to build several schools across Pakistan and Afghanistan. If ever there was a doubt that one person could make a difference, Three Cups of Tea proves that it is definitely possible.

Nearly every week each of us is approached to support a cause of one sort of another; charities that are local or global focused on helping children, the homeless, the hungry, or the helpless. Sometimes the volume of requests can be overwhelming because there is simply no way to support all the worthy causes from just one pocketbook.

So don’t. I challenge you to pick one, maybe two and adopt these as “your” cause(s). Going back to simplicity from earlier this week, knowing where you’ve decided to place your time, money and heart simplifies saying “no” to other worthy organizations. It also provides focus so that you can learn more about your cause and find the most effective way that you can make a difference in the lives of others (or in the care of animals, the environment or preserving our historical landmarks).

Of course, if your adorable nephew approaches you to subscribe to magazines in support of his football team, you can cave in on that. However, I think you’ll find that having charities of choice will help ease your conscience when throwing away requests that arrive in the mail and declining random appeals on the phone. And you will feel more connected when you focus your efforts on a choice you’ve made deliberately and with purpose.

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2 thoughts on “Looking Outward

  1. Thank you for this entry Carolyn and I am glad you mentioned ‘Three Cups of Tea’ in here, it is an amazing book.
    On the cover it says exactly what you are referring to here: If you ever get to think again what can one single person do, think of Greg Mortenson.
    He is an inspiration and shows how, with determination and effort, each of us can make a difference in the world.

  2. Pingback: Timely Generosity « Coach Carolyn

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