“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that
respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela
On December 5th, 2013, the great Nelson Mandela died. With a life devoted to helping the people of South Africa, his life stands as a testament to all. His passing has left a void in our world for someone who will stand, as Mandela did, for freedom, justice, and understanding between neighbors. When looking at the life of this man, we may feel lost in our calling to do good for one another. We may not be freedom fighters who are put in jail for decades before being elected president, but we can be faithful in small deeds that can help our neighbor and impact our world.
One of the greatest things you can do to impact the world, is to be aware. Watch the news, listen to NPR, read a newspaper. Follow politics, understand what’s happening in your local government, and listen to the causes of others to comprehend global issues like:
- Modern slavery with 20.9 million slaves worldwide and a large numbers in the US.
- One out of every 8 people in the world suffers from chronic undernourishment.
- Thousands of species of animals are in danger due to loss of habitat or Global Warming
These may be the soap boxes heard from many corners of the US, but find a cause that you can be passionate about and make yourself as aware as you can about every detail. Make others aware of it too.
Participate in Established Good
There are many established companies and projects already doing good deeds in your area. Simple things you can do to participate and support them is to:
- Donate Your Car – an auto donation can significantly support a nonprofit’s programs and is beneficial to the environment while providing you with a tax break.
- Aid Funding – many causes need funding. Natural disaster relief, public projects, and various other campaigns that impact the world need money to continue their work. Sending money is the easiest way to help someone.
- Volunteer – although sending money can be important, your time can be more valuable than your money. Spending time volunteering is a great way to become involved in something and impact lives. Animal rescues need dog walkers, soup kitchens need servers, and everyone needs help organizing fundraisers. Spend time doing something that you believe in and you will impact others.
A simple and yet truly important thing you can do to impact not only the lives of others, but your own is to have conversations with people who are different than you. Opening dialogues with people who have different religious beliefs, customs, or personalities than you helps to broaden your opinions, find understanding, and become a well-rounded person. If everyone in the world were to take the time to “love thy neighbor” through mutual understanding, the world would be a much better place. Have a conversation with a stranger sometime and you might just be amazed by the impact.
Written by Loretta Stein of Goodwill Car Donations, helping you donate your vehicle to Goodwills across the country.