I’ve been hearing this a lot lately. At school, on the street, in various organizations.
It’s implied even more often than it is said out loud.
The idea is, “I don’t have to do this, or do this on time. It’ll get done anyway. (By someone.)”
Often it’s something minor, like refilling the ice cube trays, or replacing a roll of toilet paper.
Sometimes it’s a much more serious matter.
People are always needed to take leadership roles: in government on city council or township boards, on school boards, in chambers of commerce, in Lions or Legion Clubs, on sports teams, in the workplace, and even within families.
If you aren’t taking a leadership role, then chances are good that someone else will.
The trouble comes when it’s the same few people taking on the bulk of those responsibilities. Time after time, year after year. Until they burn out and drop out of most activities.
If you don’t fill the ice cube trays at home, either someone else will, or you won’t have ice.
Right now, there are two town festivals at risk of ending, being no more.
Kimball Days, which has happened each August for 31 years now, is in need of new leadership. Leslie Arnold has been in charge for a few years. She announced last year that it would be her last year. She has family and other commitments that need and deserve her attention. It’s a daunting, enormous job; she did it well, and it’s time for someone else to take on the yoke.
No one did.
So this year she’s doing it again. But this really will be her last year.
If no one else takes on this responsibility, this will be the last Kimball Days.
The same thing is happening with the Fair Haven Old Settlers Picnic, which has been held the last Saturday in June for 87 years.
Brenda Newman has been in charge of this community festival for many years now. This is her last year, and someone needs to step up to run it next year.
People are needed to head these festivals. But people also are needed to lead committees, and to be responsible for the many, many tasks that need to be done before a festival can happen (and appear to be effortless).
It’s one thing to agree to do something and, it seems, quite another thing to actually complete the job. Perhaps worse than not getting involved is accepting responsibility but not doing the task.
It will get done anyway. Until, one day, it doesn’t.
Picture a big, heavy cooler. (It’s summer, not difficult to imagine.) Now picture yourself picking it up and carrying it across the road. Alone, it’s quite heavy and a nearly impossible task. It’s not something you’ll want to do, let alone do again and again.
Now, picture you and another picking up the cooler and moving it. The weight seems to be much less than half, contrary to what you’d expect.
Now imagine there are four of you carrying the cooler. It becomes almost effortless with enough help.
The same thing goes for the many things that need to be done in our communities, however you define the word “community.” “Many hands make light work” is an expression that has been well proven by experience.
I challenge everyone reading this to grab a handle and pick up that cooler (figuratively speaking).
Do what you can, whatever you can. Now.
There are many things you can do any time that take only seconds and cost nothing.
Pick up that empty water bottle in the park instead of stepping over it four times.
Offer words of appreciation to those who are busy doing the many tasks in our community. When was the last time you thanked a government public servant? Or a teacher? Or a coach? Or a parent volunteer? Or someone working the local festival? Or a firefighter? Or a business owner?
Acknowledgement and a simple “thanks” can go a long way. It makes you want to keep doing it.
Use social media to uplift and encourage. Resist the urge to join in bashing and negativity. You’re not as “safe” and anonymous there as you may think. And spewing poison only makes you look petty and selfish. A kind word or two can literally make someone’s day.
Donate what you can (money, time, labor) to local causes first.
Think first of your local businesses before running to St. Cloud to buy something.
Sign up for an hour at the cake booth at the church bazaar. Then do it.
Volunteer for an hour at school. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon to complain about it, volunteer and help make it better. You’ll learn a lot in the process.
It’s true: somebody’s got to do these things. Consider letting that “somebody” be YOU more often. Then you know for sure, it will get done.