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Sunday, April 8, 2012

One Person Can Only Do So Much?


Thought for the day: On this holiday weekend what is your dream for the world? Spring is a time for rebirth. I hope that spring will help you to reignite your dreams. This weekend I have been thinking about freedom, change & the circle of life. What are your dreams? I hope you will share one dream here. As the simple edit above shows, one person's dreams can do so much to inspire others.

How often do you see the problems facing the world & feel overwhelmed? We are all busy living our lives, feeling we can only handle the demands of work & family life. When we feel this way, we think thoughts like the one above, "I'm just one person, how can I make a dent in the problems of the world?"

In 1983, I was a 3rd year doctoral student at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, I was one person stretched to what I thought was the max. I worked part time as an intern, part time as a fee-for-service psychology assistant at the Greater Lawrence Psychological Center, was a full time student & mother of three children. I was trying to complete my doctorate & had to choose a topic for my Doctoral project. I was leaning towards working on something that would build on my Master's Thesis, which looked at what helps children cope with bereavement, father absence & war. I thought it would make the project easier to accomplish within a year.

That same year, the television movie, "The Day After," aired. It was a powerful, disturbing movie which portrayed the lives of a family in Kansas the day after a nuclear attack. After I watched the film with my family,  I angrily asked, "Where are the demonstrations? Why aren't there protesters against nuclear proliferation like there were protesting the Viet Nam War?" My oldest daughter was a teenager.  With the biting honesty of a teenager confronting what she saw as hypocricy she asked, "Why aren't you doing anything?" I told her I was too busy, going to school working & running a household, but her question haunted me.

For those of you who have been reading my blog, you may already have noticed that often I sleep on or "dream on" things & awaken with new solutions to problems. After I slept on it, I woke up & realized that I could do something. I decided to use my doctoral project as a way to discover what was keeping people from taking action against the nuclear threat. I decided to create & study a technique to help promote discussion of this difficult topic & to help stimulate activism. It was harder than what I had planned to do since I was going into a new area of research, but it energized me. I felt more positive about the project & actually completed it in a timely fashion.  In addition, as a parent, I was modeling the kind of behavior I wanted my teenage daughter to emulate. Instead of telling her, "There is only so much one person can do," I was showing her that, "one person can do so much."

What is your dream for the world? What can you do today to start moving toward your dream? The 1st & most important step is owning your dream. Tell yourself what you want to accomplish & then tell others. Just conceptualizing it will help you begin to see how to fit your dream into your already busy life. In this day & age, it might be as simple as googling the issue & posting something on your facebook page every day. I'd love to hear your dreams. Have you ever felt like there was nothing you could do to change something & found a way? I'd love to hear your stories.


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