Seize the What Ifs and Change the World

Over dinner one night I was talking to Alicia and I said what if we just solved it, what would it look like if we just solved hunger in Framingham?
— David Blais, Greater Bostonians: Daniel’s Table, Feeding The Hungry As If They Were Family

Did Alicia seize Dave’s latest what if? Of course she did! This wonderful couple have a long history of seizing what ifs.

So Alicia agreed, “You know yourself when you’re hungry you don’t study well you don’t work well, you don’t think straight.”

Dave and Alicia are determined to knock out hunger in Framingham, Massachusetts, “one smile and one plate of food at a time.” To accomplish this mission, they founded Daniel’s Table. They purchased a food truck, and began delivering food sourced from their own eatery, the Foodie Cafe.

Daniels Table DinnerTime02

Please help Daniel’s Table with a donation. As they just purchased a bigger trailer, this is an especially critical time. Be part of the miracle!

What if … more of us, more of the time, chose to seize the what ifs?

What if … instead of just noticing other people’s problems, we chose to try and help? The problems we tackle may not all be as momentous as the hunger of an entire town. But every time we do anything to improve the lives of others, we are making a difference. Collectively, one step at a time, we could transform our world.

A Few Ideas to Get You Thinking

There are countless ways to seize the what ifs that are all around every one of us every day.

Everyday Acts of Kindness

seize the what ifs

To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. — Henry David Thoreau

Every day you cross paths with a number of different people. Family or roommates, classmates or co-workers, friends or acquaintances, strangers you encounter as you go about your day.

What if … you were to engage with these people in ways that brighten a few moments of their day?

How might you do this? A few ideas …

  • Offer a simple smile, possibly a light-hearted exchange of a few words. Positive psychologist Barbara Fredrickson calls this type of behavior a micro-moment of connection.
  • Perform a simple kind act of kindness. Examples include: letting someone go ahead of you in line, quieting a fussy child, carrying a heavy bundle. Some people call these random acts of kindness.

Passion to Purpose

We all have passions, activities we love, skills and talents.

What if … you were to turn your passions to some good purposes?

How might you do this? A few ideas …

  • Share a passion. Take a child to a ball game, a teenager to the theater. Invite a shut-in to an art museum.
  • Teach a passion. Coach a sport. Teach kids to read, or become an ESL tutor. Volunteer to teach at a community center, or to help out at a school.
  • Use a passion. If you are good with home construction, volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. If you can cook, help out at a soup kitchen, or make nutritious meals for individuals. If you can knit, knit prayer shawls or clothing for charities.

Outreach

seize the what ifs

Webster defines outreach as “the extending of services or assistance beyond current or usual limits.”

What if … you were to participate in an outreach program?

How might you do this? A few ideas …

  • Many churches engage in outreach activities; if you are a church member, see what your church has to offer.
  • Are you interested in helping to provide safe water, food, medical care, and education to those in need, at home and abroad? See The Outreach Program.
  • Do you want to help teach kids in the Dominican Republic or Nicaragua? See Volunteer Abroad with Outreach360.
  • Would you like to sponsor a child in need? See Sponsor a Child | World Vision.

Political Participation

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance ― Robert F. Kennedy

If you live in the United States, you know that we are facing some very serious challenges ―  climate change, health care, education, economic inequality, immigration concerns―  to name a few. These issues affect all of us, but the most vulnerable among us tend to be the hardest hit. Governments has a part to play in resolving these problems.

What if … you decided to participate in our democracy?

How might you do this? A few ideas …

  • Stay informed on the issues. I recommend NPR for balanced, unbiased reporting.
  • Vote, and encourage others to vote. See Voter Participation Center.
  • Participate in political campaigns.
  • Run for office. Sanders supporter or not, this is a good resource for learning how to run for a political office.
  • Are you a millennial? The Millennial Action Project (MAP) has an audacious mission: make political cooperation a norm through Millennial leadership.

How Will You Seize the What Ifs?

We restore the holiness of the world through our loving-kindness and compassion.  Everyone participates. It is a collective task. Every act of loving-kindness, no matter how great or small, repairs the world.  All those ever born have shared this collective work since the beginning of time. ― Rachel Naomi Remen

For some additional ideas on how to match up your kind of love to acts of kindness, see As Many Kinds of Love as There Are Hearts.

Begin today. Open your ears, eyes, mind, and heart to those around you. Ask and answer your own what ifs.

living your dreams

art courtesy of Sandra Heskaking

Picture a planet ―  our very own planet earth ―  glowing every brighter as we bathe her people in love.

P.S. Did I mention that being kind to others increases our own happiness?