Sunday, April 8, 2012
One Person Can Only Do So Much?
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.