This article was triggered by my frustration trying to help a lovely woman in need and my inability to rally people to help. It breaks my heart how one person can give so much and can wind up so alone, fighting insurmountable obstacles.
With this being Memorial Day, I started thinking broader about the silent plight of so many.
I am a person who looks at an issue and sees the “big picture”, not just what directly affects me. I continuously marvel about how today’s “problems”, in many cases, are not new. Many of these issues are recurring in our society. Time and again I marvel at how history repeats itself – it we let it – which I did go into greater detail in our book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life” (www.ifiknewthenbook.com).
I continuously assume people will feel the same urgencies I do for certain things and about situations that affect us as a whole. Time and again I wind up frustrated, disappointed or surprised.
With this being Memorial Day, I am reminded of a conversation I had with an elected official. I asked him why we don’t hear daily reports about our military personnel or the plight of our veterans. He told me that, unlike during the world wars when everyone was affected, only 1% of people in our country are currently connected to military personnel or situations.
My family does not have anyone in the military, but I totally believe that we should care about the men and women who are protecting our freedoms, at home and abroad. I believe we should know what they need, how to help, and how to care. Not just on Memorial Day or Veterans Day, but every day.
Did you know that 22 soldiers a day commit suicide? http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2013/02/05/22-the-number-of-veterans-who-now-commit-suicide-every-day Did you know that many Veterans are homeless? There are many articles that gave a statistics that approximately 58,000 veterans were homeless in the year 2013. It is so hard for me to believe that someone could fight for our freedoms and end up in this manner. Through my work experience in healthcare I have learned that many don’t know where to get help or the resources available.
If you look into history, these situations that currently affect our Veterans are not new. We still hear the term “the forgotten war”, and many talk about our current Veterans fitting into this same category.
Working in quality improvement for many years, I have learned that you cannot ignore issues – things will only continue to get worse. I have learned that it is better to weigh your options and implement the best possible solution when first identifying the problem. This can be applied to anything; for example a hole in a pipe will get larger and larger (it won’t go away), health problems will continue to compound, or a car that is in disrepair will eventually stop working.
I am acutely aware that one person cannot be involved in and deal with everything, but I am also aware that many people might just say, “That’s too bad” and move along in their day. I believe there are so many things that get put on the back burner without getting the proper attention that it should. In the end, issues will just get larger and continue to reappear. Just watch our nightly news and the stories that we hear over and over. We see the same situations, on a daily basis, just reported on with different names and dates.
With this being Memorial Day, please take a moment today to reflect on our Veterans, their dedication and sacrifice. Perhaps do a quick “Google” search to find one of the many organizations working to help our Veterans. Perhaps there is something you can contribute. If each one of us does one little thing to help, we can make things better. That’s the concept behind “people helping people” and Time to Play (www.TimetoPlay.com).
I’ll even inappropriately venture out on this Memorial Day and ask you to stop a moment to consider the plight of others, those who may not be Veterans.
In reference to my dear friend, she has been going through a horrible health crisis for almost a year. She’s just one of many who are going through a crisis in their lives or the lives of their loved ones. I had believed she had a stronger support group than she actually does have. Maybe I just want to believe that everyone has some type of support group or a person they can count on in their time of need. The more I’ve been working on the Time to Play project, the more I realize that just isn’t so and how many people are out there truly out there on their own.
In this particular case, I’ve been trying to do a fundraiser for her with not great results. Maybe it’s because she is not a young child, maybe people just have too much of their own stuff that they are dealing with. Through working on Time to Play, many have said to me that, unless something directly affects a person, it is hard for them to wrap their minds around the plight of another.
I will never be able to accept that.
We all need to care.
People Helping People. Collaboration = Success.