Apathy Into Action

It’s Saturday morning. It’s raining. I’d love to linger in bed and turn my daily writing exercise to flights of fancy, or the latest tales of teenage folly around my little household.

But given the discussion this past week – of very real and pressing social ills that affect millions of us – I prefer to point you to an important article on Huffington Post, written by Barbara Hannah Grufferman.

While Barbara’s immediate target audience may be women, and specifically, women over 50, her weekly columns continue to impress and insist that we get off our apathetic butts whatever our age, and take action to chip away at the challenges that plague this country.

A “can do” attitude? Sure, that helps. But attitude and intention accomplish little, without action.

Just yesterday, in response to my post on dealing with obese kids by removing them from their homes, it was Tina who said “We are big talkers in this country but do not take action.” Tina went on to offer wise words from her experience. And it was Mutant Supermodel who wrote “Where does one begin?” and expressed her sense of futility at the enormity of issues that confront us, to do with children, education, health care, and politics as usual.

How right they both are.

Words to Motivate

Barbara’s provocative piece, headlined Can Protesting Make America Happier And Healthier?, is not only worth reading and reading again, but it’s message deserves more – crafting a plan of action.

One thing. Two things.

Something – tangible, manageable, and important to you.

Barbara writes:

We’re overwhelmed with the details of our day-to-day lives: working, or looking for work; taking care of our families and our immediate communities; and just trying to live our lives. Understandable. But, based on discussions I’ve had and research I’ve read, if we don’t turn anger into action, our dissatisfaction grows.

I get it. I’m there. I’m one of the over 50, over-educated, overqualified – and unemployed.

That doesn’t mean I don’t work – I work all the time – frequently in an underemployed capacity, but also for long stretches when this site is my sole “work” and obviously without pay, when simultaneously searching for paying projects is my work, and of course – executing on those projects, while running a household and raising children which has comprised my “other” profession for years. And naturally, unpaid.

When I am generating revenue through contract and freelance positions?

None of it provides benefits. Rarely does it add up to a sufficient income, given the costs of raising children. I’ve juggled, like most of you. I’ve lived on credit – just to get by.

I’ve dealt with ex issues and health issues, solo parenting dramas and my own “stuff.” There are good days and bad days, some that seem to beat me to a pulp, and others in which I write with a vengeance and connect to those who are doing something. Those who can teach me how to peacefully protest, which perhaps we could envision as acts of peaceful reconstruction.

Facing Up To Reality

I often write about France with affection – and even longing. It is an imperfect nation (as are they all), and a country I love. But this is my country, and we can do better.

This is where I live. This is where my children live.

This diverse, complex and naive assemblage of more than 300 million people participates in a larger community of nations – and in that community we can all learn from each other, and respect one another. I want to live with less fear. I want to live with more dignity. I want my skills and knowledge and work ethic to be useful, and properly compensated in dollars – so I may keep a roof over my head and food on the table, and so I may cover basic medical expenses without going bankrupt.

Is that honestly too much to ask? For any of us? A decent life? A dignified life?

I want to be able to help those of you who don’t have jobs (and not for lack of trying), who are still fighting for enforcement of child support or reasonable custody (and worn down from doing so),  who are trying to feed yourselves and your families in a healthy, affordable fashion, who are trying to make sense of the latest ways to “best” parent your children in a confusing culture.

I want to be able to demonstrate to small organizations and larger ones that millions of us continue to offer competencies that can contribute to the welfare of our society (as well as the bottom line) – regardless of our age or our gender, much less our marital status and family obligations.

Moreover, there is joy in giving.  And giving back.

Please stop by and read Barbara’s articles. They are worth your time. They will help you see just how many of us are afraid, worried, overwhelmed – but willing to do something about it.

Taking Action

You aren’t alone in being tired or feeling helpless. We’re in this together. We can act – together – each of us in ways that make sense.

As for my own plan of action, I resolve to do the following and keep you posted:

  • to inform myself better on critical economic issues
  • to inform myself better on candidates and their platforms
  • to document and share what I am learning about healthy foods on an extremely restricted budget
  • to share what I have learned about educational opportunities for those who have been devastated (financially) by post-divorce life, and who don’t fit into the usual “categories” when it comes to providing data to educational institutions

This may not sound like a lot, but I hope it’s something of value. Like many of you, I am also finishing the job of raising a family alone, and seeking revenue-generating projects. Both of those, obviously, take a good deal of time. But they can’t be used as excuses, or none of us – the women especially – would take any social or political action for 15 or 20 years.

Action must take precedence over apathy. Action is the only way forward.

For all of us.

I believe we can make a difference if we stand up, if we turn apathy into action, if we seek to peacefully restructure by asking questions, by informing ourselves, by picking our battles, and by working for change.

  • Will you make a plan of action?
  • Will you share it with us?
  • Will you commit to doing what you can?


© D A Wolf

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Comments

  1. Very interesting article. I find myself guilty as charged. I choose to blog as my own small soap box. But I commit now to taking it further. Here is my own list.
    1. I will educate myself further on my own senators and candidates and how they/their views and policies affect me and my family.
    2. I will write letters to politicians who may be making changes or not making changes that affect me.
    3. Continue the open dialog with my own children who are just now reaching the voting age, the college age and the expenses and responsibility of living on their own stage.
    I have time on my hands… better use it wisely.
    I take your challenge, and I am excited to hear of your results also. Even if they are just to make you and I feel better about our status.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Thank you, NAS. This means a lot. And I hope, will help us – and so many others like us. Will you keep us posted – on your blog, or here, or both?

  2. Absolutely.

  3. The rebel in me wants so badly to commit to encouraging my students to bring lunches to school in protest of the crap that is served in the cafeteria. There are roadblocks to that mindset, though…no one buying cafeteria food puts people out of work…some kids do not have the home resources to make lunches. However, I feel as if I could, through writing instruction/public speaking instruction/citizenship instruction, lead my students to be advocates for themselves in trying to implement better food services for children during the school year.

    I feel as if I do a fine job informing myself on candidates and their platforms, never just pulling a straight ticket unless I believe it is merit-worthy.

    And, I have to say, as a single-parent, what we teach our children in our homes may seem like just doing our jobs as parents but really will impact society in the future…if we all join together in doing this and pledging to make conditions better by encouraging our children to make good choices and also by leading them by our examples. Seems like such a small contribution but could have lasting impact if everyone of us, single parents alone/women alone, did this to the best of our abilities!

  4. No plan. But I do have a vision of a government freed from the yoke of corporations. Simple, really: of the people, by the people, for the people. I think it starts with meaningful campaign reform, and a new system of campaign financing. One amendment to the Constitution, and perhaps several, will be required. I’m thinking hard about this.

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