Thursday, September 06, 2007

One person at a time

When someone he knows does a good deed for another person, my friend Kilong may say to that person that he "is now part of a force that makes the world a better place, one person at a time." In today's sound-bite world, it may seem just like part of the background but let me explore exactly what this means to me, personally.

Like most people, I want to make the world a better place. I want the war in Iraq to end, poverty to be eradicated throughout the world, child abuse to go away, etc. Choose your poison, there are a lot of ills in today's world. How can I be part of a force that makes the world a better place?

A "force" is something powerful. Merriam-Webster Online defines it as strength or energy exerted or brought to bear. It is from Latin's fortis meaning strong. Another way of putting it is, to have force is to have influence. So how can I be a force, an influence, on the ills of society? And how do I do it one person at a time?

My son mentioned an interest in volunteering to me the other day. I pointed him to Hands On Portland. Kilong, learning that I was a fairly avid bicyclist, asked if I could find a way to obtain bikes for two ten-year-old Liberian girls who live in his neighborhood. We're delivering those bikes this weekend, thanks to the generosity of two wonderful residents of Sandy, Oregon who discounted them 66% from their original, craigslist-advertised prices. One person at a time.

I don't care what you think of me about writing about this. I'm not interested in getting credit for any of this. But I won't be quiet if, by telling my story, I can help you to be a part of a force to make the world a better place, one person at a time. As Kilong so astutely wrote me in regard to the bikes, "it's not about the bikes."

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