Life is busy. Actually it is downright hectic at times. Are you coming or going? What is up and what is down? Some days you even struggle to know what day it is. Your job is demanding and it takes a lot of your time. Maybe you are working first and third shift jobs to provide for your family. Your children are involved in after school activities and youth sports. Your spouse’s days are filled with work, errands, and carpools. You want to get involved in your community to make a difference, but how in the heck can you do it? You just do not have the time. You cannot be in a million places at once.
Can you relate? Have you ever felt this way or been in this situation? I am sure that most of us have. We have great intentions, but things just don’t map out the way we would like. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to volunteer. So you give in and you give up. You settle and you do nothing.
For the better part of three years we have challenged those that have said “I do not have time”. Our fundamental belief is that we all have time, even if only a few minutes, to invest in the lives of others, great organizations, and worthwhile causes. Simple acts can make a difference. When we take a moment to evaluate how we spend our time we can easily identify items in our schedules that are time-wasters and those things that bring little value. We can re-evaluate, recalibrate, and reallocate our time.
Our family has proved this over the last three years. Regardless of what curveballs the game of life has thrown us, we have consistently been able to put others first and fulfill our commitment to giving and service. This week, I wasn’t sure that we could do it. For the first time since the creation of this project, it seemed that life was just too hectic. I had told myself to forget it. We couldn’t make the time. Well, my friends, that is load of **** (fill in the expletive). I looked at myself in the mirror and said “there is always time.”
We played the role of advocate this week by taking the pledge to end the use of the R-word. Spread the Word to End the Word is an ongoing effort to raise the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed)” and encourage people to pledge to stop using the R-word. The campaign is intended to get schools, communities and organizations to rally and pledge their support to help create communities of inclusion and acceptance for all people. We have volunteered with organizations like Cardinal Services and Easter Seals Arc and spent time with the people they serve. Those with disabilities are people just like you and me. They are no different. They should be treated with respect and using the R-word is the not the way to do it. We all need to do our part to spread the word and challenge those that use it. There will be times and situations that may not be best suited for an immediate intervention when you hear someone use the R-word. It simply may be best at times to walk away from a situation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still do good after walking away. I heard the word used this week the day after I made the pledge. I chose to challenge the individual’s use of the word and became engrossed in a short conversation. When the conversation was over and the person had left the area, a woman approached me. She had overheard the conversation and she wanted to thank me. Her nephew has mental disabilities and he is constantly bullied at school and called the R-word. It was obvious how much she disliked that word and how appreciative she was of my support. We never know who is listening or who is watching. Becoming an advocate for a great cause can create ripples, enhance awareness and make a difference.
I encourage you to visit Spread the Word to End the Word and take the pledge. Learn, act, and advocate for those with disabilities. It is the right thing to do.
In a week where I originally said there was no time to invest in others we made a pledge and advocated for those with disabilities, we donated clothing and household items to a nonprofit thrift store, I spent time online mentoring young people who are struggling with self-harm, addiction, and suicidal thoughts, I spent an evening with my little brother through Big Brothers Big Sisters, and I spent some time with the homeless.
See, there is ALWAYS time.