Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and he once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
And, on this day, I can’t help but add to that quote and ask, “What are you doing for others who are different than you?”
But the responding question you might ask is, “What can I do?”
Sometimes the differences between people – particularly people of different races – seem so large that we wonder if there’s anything we can do that will make any sort of difference. Most of us don’t have the kind of platform or power that would enable us to solve our societal woes, so why bother, right?
Martin Luther King, Jr. also said, “The time is always right to do what’s right.”
Each of us can decide to do what’s right and live in such a way that we are part of the solution to our nation’s divisions instead of part of the problem.
Here’s three things each of us can do in service to the greater good that MLK worked for:
- See and treat every person as the created of God. If you believe that God is Creator, then that belief gives you no other option than to see all people as people of worth, value, and beauty who deserve to be treated with respect, dignity, kindness, and honor. The way you treat those whom God has created either honors or dishonors God and reveals what or who you truly worship.
- Do your part. This is at the heart of MLK’s question, “What are you doing to serve others?” He’s really asking if you and I are doing our part to unite people, instead of dividing them. One of the reasons why I facilitate fatherhood workshops in a place where I, as a white person, am a minority is because it gives me an opportunity to do my part and serve others who are different than me. I am not a lawmaker or politician; I am a teacher, so I found a way that I could contribute that fits with my skillset. And everyday at True Dads, Black, White, and Hispanic people work alongside each other to strengthen all communities by strengthening families of all backgrounds. It’s a beautiful thing, and it happens way more often than what we are led to believe, which is why we all need to…
- Limit your media exposure. One of the great failings within our nation is the news industry. Study after study has shown that news media seizes on the negative, exaggerates and exploits the negative, and drums up fear and suspicion simply because it pushes ratings and views that bring in money. There is more good happening in our world than the media tells us, so don’t allow your view of the world to be shaped by an industry that has been corrupted by greed. Look for the good and the good people in your community and celebrate them; be grateful for them; and join them in doing good.
It turns out that there’s actually quite a lot we can do to serve others.