It's Up to Me to Change Things


It’s up to to change things

I recently asked a woman who was complaining about the hours of her 10 person book club, “So you do want to try to change that?” and she said, “That’s just the way things are. I can’t change it by myself.”

She can’t change it? It’s a 10 person club. Surely she has the ability to influence a change there. Actually, she could probably influence a larger group to change if she tried. Anyone could. None of us is actually powerless to make our community better. Why do we think otherwise?

If a club, or her community, or this culture, or this earth is made up people, and if the people make written and unwritten rules that we don’t like, who can begin change the rules if not one of us? A person or group made up these rules, and a person or group of people will make the next ones.

I’ve heard the same argument applied to the infighting between political factions. “What can I do about that? It’s everyone else who promotes divisiveness- not me.” But we CAN do something. If things are to change, it’s each one of us who have to make the change happen.

If we want to restore civil discourse about politics, we have to start by reaching across to the “other” side of the issues and inviting discourse and being civil. We have to come together and work together. And by working together, we increase the presence of the thing that was absent: civil discourse.

In all kinds of situations, people might think, “I’m only one person. I can’t change things by self.” And one part of that is true. Maybe one person can’t do the whole thing by oneself. But change happens when society grows as a whole. If I want to live in a better world, I have to begin to make it better, and then maybe I can even organize a movement toward a larger change.

If we want better schools or better youth programs, we have to come together and advocate for our schools and youth programs.

If we want fair and equal reimbursement for mental health care, we have to stand together and ask for, and eventually demand it. As individuals and as a group.

We have to get organized, come together, and work toward these changes with a clear vision to drive us. And while none of us can do it alone, any one of us can start.

It is up to me to change things. It’s up to all of us.

Posted on March 25, 2019 .