Is Civic Withdrawal Now the Norm?

As a frugal living blogger, you’ve seen me post from time-to-time about how I firmly believe living a “frugal life” requires not just letting go, but also giving back. Meaning, not only do you have to consciously let go of the “stuff” (and live a more minimalist lifestyle), but you have to be WILLING to give that which you may very well need – such as money.

Now I’m by no means encouraging you to put yourself in debt in order to better someone else’s life – that’s just silly – but rather to simply recognize that giving may very well be a part of the path you must travel in order to find the freedom you’re looking for.

When was the last time you helped a stranger in need? Or are you too busy? Too lost in your own chaos? Or, like many of us, are you too overwhelmed by constant access to information that sometimes you’re just blinded to it all?

Despite the motivational memes and inspirational pins flashing otherwise, we are often discouraged when it comes to shaping the world we’ll pass on to our children. We instead leave the tough choices to corrupt political leaders, money-hungry corporate directors, or social activists whose lifestyles seem alien and jarring. It is both sad and ironic that in a country born from a revolution, few of us do more beyond “signing” yet another online petition.

For many, civic withdrawal is now the norm.

Is it any wonder, though? You can’t log into Facebook or open your e-mail without being bombarded by sad stories of families in need, babies dying, or homes burning. It’s easier to ignore it, turn a blind eye and go on your merry way.

Those who don’t, those who choose to feel, are often thought to be crazy. Deemed “zealots” or “drama queens” by their peers.

When our individual autonomy is brought into question, by ourselves or others, our instinct is to bristle and call the others obsessed or ignorant. You can’t get onto any public thread these days without hate raging from all sides, name-calling like school yard bullies.

Perhaps it’s because we need this cynical submission to numb the pain of our own unrealized hopes…?

Imagine, though, if we applied that cynicism to all areas of our life. Rather than encouraging little Billy to try to hit the ball just one more time, we tell him to lay down the bat and go home, he’ll never go pro!

Or when our toddler runs up to us after a day away, rather than swoop her up in a hug, we jerk away and look at her with suspecting eyes, assuming she wants more from us than simply our love.

We have to take chances on people, to believe in them and motivate them, lest we crumble as an entire society. If we continue to turn in and look only at our screens, the physical world WILL gray and decompose.

Being an adult is brutal, especially if you’re an adult born of the “Millennial” generation.

You’re caught between those who recall life before “the Facebook” and those who think you’re old because you’re not sure just how SnapChat works, but you’re pretty sure you want to avoid any risk of d*** pics.

It’s exhausting trying to balance it all, to keep all those balls in the air while remembering to breathe.

We have to, though.

We must carry on and set a better example for our children.

We must be involved, not just from our computer screens, but actually, physically, involved.

March in a protest. Attend a political rally. Volunteer one weekend a month with your children.

While I by no means think everyone should constantly worry about everyone else, nothing will ever get better in this world if we all remain on autopilot, hiding behind our screens. Break free from your routine and become an active member of your community. ANYTHING that gets you out that door and physically involved in molding our world.

Change your world by changing someone else’s.

As Howard Thurman once said: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

What makes YOU come alive, my dear reader? I’d love to know in the comments below.

Come alive today and recognize that civic engagement is a must if we're ever to better this chaotic world we've found ourselves living in. #volunteer #volunteerwithkids #volunteerwithchildren #caringisfrugal

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