“All I expect from my children is that they find a way to become a contributing member of society.” Sometimes I continue with, “It does not matter to me what you do, just do something that adds some value to your community.” I’ve changed my view of this edict.
I’ve changed my view of becoming a “Contributing Member of Society”
This used to be all about a job, a career or a business idea. I still think we need to find a way to support ourselves in some way that provides value to others, however thanks to a friend I now look at this edict differently.
My friend Joan Carroll shared a message about evangelism with us at Poolesville Memorial United Methodist Church. Her talk got me thinking differently about being contributing members of society.
For the longest time I thought that being a contributing member of society meant having a job or a business. I also erroneously thought that we had to be adults to be contributing members of society. I’ve changed my mind somewhat.
Joan talked about each generation of the church having a role in the church’s evangelism. She talked about the many different activities that make up evangelism. As she spoke I began to relate evangelism to contributing to society.
Regardless of our age, newborn to senior citizen, we all have something to add. Here are a few examples that I hope you can appreciate:
- The smile & feeling while holding a newborn.
- The feeling we get inside playing baby games with an infant.
- The excitement of watching a toddler learn to walk.
- The excitement of attending an elementary school play, a middle school band recital, a high school football game and a college graduation.
- The happiness we have attending a friend’s wedding.
- The benefit of learning from a professor or mentor
- The gratitude we have when our friends help us move, fix a car or paint a bedroom wall
- The interest of listening to the stories of our veterans
- Our imagination generated by family stories told by grandparents
- Hearing about the history of our communities, countries, families, cultures, religions, governments and friends from our senior citizens, friends and family members.
These are simple yet important contributions to our society. None of them being hard to do, costing money or energy. We can contribute in many of these ways during our lives.
As we go about our lives we have the ability to contribute to society in many other ways as well.
- We can contribute financially to our local charities, our church and even to the homeless family who needs a little help. Children breaking into their piggy banks and retirees donating from their investments are good examples of this.
- We can contribute physically. I’ve seen children helping senior citizens and I’ve meet a 90 year old guy working on a Habitat for Humanity house.
- The knowledge we can get from a child’s unlimited imagination can be as useful as a business man sharing his life’s experiences.
- Listening can be a truly rewarding contribution to society. The benefit of reading to a child is just as important as listening to the life stories from our senior citizens.
- A toddler laughing as we chase them is just as beneficial as laughing with a friend in a nursing home.
- Getting a hug from a baby and giving a family friend a hug are equally important and appreciated.
- Getting a kiss from a child when you have a “boo-boo” can be just as helpful as a hug from a grandmother.
- Being compassionate is not something that only adults can do. Children can be compassionate as well.
- A meaningful thank you can come from anyone at any age for lots of different reasons.
Listening to Joan talk about the different generations of a church being able to participate in evangelism really hit a cord with me.
I now believe that being a contributing member of society is less about age and education and more about the desire to do something good for someone else when ever we can.
Let’s all be a contributing member of society, at all ages and regardless of what we do for a living.