None of us are in a position to do it all, but each of us in our own way needs to participate in the optional responsibilities of society. The difference between those who do and those who do not accept these added responsibilities can clearly be seen on their faces. The joy of helping someone other than yourself, is a gift that can’t be replicated. Folks going through their own difficult times can often be lifted in spirit by focusing their attention on others. The good deeds we do or, dues we pay, sooner or later circle back around making this a better community, country and world that we all must share.
The recent passing of Nelson Mandela shows the true skill of a human willing to give and place personal needs below those of many others. After being jailed 27 years for his life long battle against apartheid and injustice in South Africa, instead of becoming a bitter man looking for revenge, he understood that his nation needed to be healed. People of all skin color could begin addressing the problems in society by putting their differences aside and working together for a true democratic state. Knowing what needs to be done and having the courage to buck political and social trends is what sets Mandela apart.
Mandela had the rare ability that few leaders have to affect true change. I’m not suggesting that any of us can live up to his accomplishments but each of us have the ability to do our small part to make an impact in our communities. Sure times are tough and there is never enough money to satisfy all your needs. But look around. How much better do you still have it than others around you? How many times in life did someone, maybe even a stranger, extend a helping hand or an encouraging word when you needed it most? None of us ever know what the future holds. Mandela could have never imagined when he was thrown into jail in 1964 that someday he would be president of his country and be so beloved around the world for his efforts.
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.