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Don’t Let the Bad Guys Win. Stand up, Participate and Take Action
Posted By Leigh Anne Tuohy On January 9, 2012 @ 4:26 pm In Notebook | Comments Disabled
Last week, my blog was about New Year’s resolutions, but it had a Tuohy twist. I wanted to drive home the point that I had hopes many people would make declarations that weren’t so self-centered and went beyond their own desire to better just themselves. Many of you liked it, and some of you did not. One reader declared it lame. Of course, I wanted to tell her to pick up a pen and see what she could come up with and then let me critique it, but I decided to be my kinder, gentler self and not go there. Honestly, it took all I had not to go there, but I didn’t. Aren’t you proud of me?
Moving on….This all brought me back to where did these resolutions come from? Who said at the stroke of midnight on December 31st that we should reflect and have this warm fuzzy moment about how we’re going to become better people? Out with the old, in with the new?
Suddenly we are going to be better parents, move mountains to make the world a better place and make monumental promises to ourselves. I actually thought about researching this tradition of New Year’s resolutions, but then I said, “what does it matter, in the scheme of things? Does it matter who started the tradition? Who participates in it or does not?” I don’t think it really matters. What does matter is, it is up to you and no one but you, to make the difference you want to see.
Don’t believe for one minute that you do not possess the power to create change! Remember last week; I said it is about “choices.” Even if you haven’t partaken this past week in something new and different, I know you’ve read what other people are doing, or want to do, or thought about doing, and you you briefly thought, “sounds good, maybe I should join them.” Well may I give you some things that I have come across this week that have had an impact on me? Resolutions that one would pray would become traditions. I hope these will appeal to you this year and for years to come.
I mentioned last week that 2011 was tough on so many. The reality is that people divorced and lost their jobs; families were abandoned; children suffered abuse; people fell ill; teenagers didn’t graduate and on and on. Sometimes it’s not a “wonderful life” like the holiday movie title suggests. The truth of the matter is that every single person in this world experiences loss or sadness at some point in his or her life. Sadness and loss transcend socioeconomic barriers. They seem to level the playing field when we go through the trenches together. The choices we make coming out of these losses and sadness are what defines us. So, while 2011 might have kicked many in the back side, what we take from it shapes our future.
There are individuals and organizations that are moving the needle every day, either helping us through these tough times or, are daily trying to be there for those who are in the middle of them. Saddle yourself to them and realize you can create meaningful change OR, you can just sit back and complain and criticize because times are bad and life’s not fair, and you drew the short straw again.
My father used to say, “being a part of the peanut gallery isn’t going to change or improve anyone or anything.” Why don’t you go to a Boys and Girls Club or any teen center and make a resolution to meet a teenager and discuss the importance of education, the pitfalls of using drugs, the need to lower teen pregnancy or just be a friend to one of them? That would change your life and theirs for the better.
How about pledge to get a group together and go to a less fortunate neighborhood than yours and introduce yourself to a family and help them with minor repairs like yard work, or bringing in the groceries? Be a buddy to an elderly person. They seem to be forgotten so often and they possess amazing amounts of wisdom that could be passed on to the next generation through you.
This year, instead of watching the news and thinking, “that’s someone else’s problem,” why don’t you hold your community officials more responsible? Why don’t you become that someone? Take a stand when there is a proposal to close the neighborhood library or YMCA. Be the voice your community needs to hear. Get involved in your child’s school. Look around; stand up for the kid who is being bullied. Don’t let the bad guys win! We need to start in our own backyard and look out for each other. Become accountable, dependable and available. Let the change begin with you and your choices and let it begin in January but continue through the year until we see hope on the faces of those who aren’t as fortunate as you.
Photo credit by: Rusty Sheriff 
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @LeighAnneTuohy  and play #TuohyTrivia on Tuesdays for a chance to win a $25 donation to the charity of your choice for answering the question correctly. Learn more about my family’s charity at The Making It Happen Foundation .
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 Image: http://aarpblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/4880169398_d80b33e595.jpg
 Rusty Sheriff: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rustysheriff/
 @LeighAnneTuohy: http://www.twitter.com/LeighAnneTuohy
 The Making It Happen Foundation: http://www.makingithappenfoundation.com/
 HERE: http://blog.aarp.org/author/leighannetuohy/
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