Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thoughts on Changing the World

You may call me an overly optimistic optimist. You may call me crazy. Nonetheless, these are some thoughts that have been accumulating in my mind over the last several days since BYU's Hunger Banquet.

Too many people want change but do nothing to bring it about. Too often, we just throw money at a problem and leave feeling justified that we have done our part. I can't do that. My conscience doesn't allow me to. I have every intention of making a difference in the world.

This is not a post about how I'm going to change the world. I'm still figuring that out. Rather, it's about how we can do our part individually to change things around us.

At the Hunger Banquet, Steven Dorsey, director of the Peace Corps in Costa Rica, spoke about the theme -- Peace by Piece. He said that each of us must be willing to put our piece into bringing an end to conflict, hunger, and oppression. How does one do that? Mr. Dorsey offered four suggestions.

1) You must be at peace with yourself.
2) The Love of God must pervade your heart.
3) The love of our neighbors must be evident in all our interactions.
4) Action -- You cannot just feel. You have to act.

Too often, we think that we cannot change anything because of our limitations. It's not enough to feel pity. It's not enough to be saddened by the situations in Africa, Japan, or Haiti. It's not enough to just throw money at the problems hoping that they disappear. You can't ignore the problem until it goes away.

I can't be content when I think about problems in the world and problems in my own backyard. Not only is Africa a mess, but education in America is falling behind, kids in foster care are falling through the cracks, drug trafficking, sex trafficking, child soldiers, despotic dictators, tsunamis, hunger, famine, AIDS, and a million other issues surround us.

That's why there has to be change. That's why I have to do something about it and will do something about it. No longer will I sit apathetically by while there are things that I can do to make a difference. There's too much to do to just wait for opportunities to help. It's not enough to want change. You have to change. You have to be the point at which the status quo is no longer acceptable. The status quo is unacceptable. It's time to change.