This is a Mother’s Day musing, “things mother did right.” Somewhere between shlepping me from meeting to event to cause and filling up the back seat with books, she taught me that it is my responsibility to stand up for what’s right, that’s it’s an imperative, not an option.

I’m astounded at the number of people who go through life without participating — the folks stuck wondering “why they’re here,” or who regard action as “controversial” and “not nice,” or who think passively attending meetings suffices (A trend: my divorce clients almost uniformly are not socially active, hmmmmmmmm… but that’s blog for another time). What’s the point if your actions and life are contrary to claimed values? Learning is doing, life is living, get to work!

Social action can come from any perspective, and there are so many stark needs. My struggle is one of prioritizing, along the lines of Viktor Frankel’s notion that each of us has unique gifts and it’s our job to get out there and use them. How can each of us be most effective using the gifts we have?

Studying and doing go hand in hand. Some draw the distinction between the Yiddish and Hebrew interpretations of mitzvah/mitvot, “good deeds” and “commandment” but it’s not binary — I take it to mean the imperative to act responsibly to improve our world.

There was a great talk the other day on Midday, always more meaningful on a bleary-eyed drive home after a long long day… Here’s how it was billed on the MPR site:

Robert Putnam, the Harvard political scientist who has tracked the
declining membership in everything from bowling leagues to rotary clubs, wants Americans to start doing things in groups again. Putnam says that people who socialize have longer lives, better health and are better citizens.

Here’s the link to Putnam on-line, just scroll down to that program.

Putnam is very disturbed about the trend of ignoring our civic and social responsibilities. Participation is at an all time low. This was determined by asking questions about organizations people participated in, voting and helping on campaigns, and social action. Even church attendance was measured.

Putnam found that a major influence on this negative trend is television — DUH! Off your TV.

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