“In order to change the world, we must first change ourselves”
The beginning of a new year is not as arbitrary as it may seem. It can be a time of new beginnings, new commitments, and a new self. This period of newness can create an environment for us to finally buckle down and decide to make a positive impact on the world. This decision becomes a reality when we look at ourselves and what needs to change internally. We must live out what we try to instill on our external environment. For example, we cannot authentically instill on our environment a world free from slavery if we constantly consume chocolate linked to slavery on the Ivory Coast of Africa. Similarly, we cannot insist that our environment be a place of community and hospitality, but not do anything to create that. For this reason, I would like to propose a New Year’s resolution for myself and anyone who would like to join me. During the beginning new year, let’s invite a person or family to dinner who we would not normally think to spend time with. This could be a neighbor, a newly transplanted family, or a person at work or school who seems to not have a large social network.
The effects of this, should anyone choose to participate with me, are three-fold:
- One, you form a connection with people. Really, who doesn’t want more friends?
- Furthermore, that tug on your heart you might be feeling to invite that person over for a meal could be cause to believe that someone you could share a meal with might really need to feel loved and valuable when you give them a call. A small act can change the world, don’t deny that.
- Lastly, conversation and relationships help us grow, giving us the internal change written of above.
In order to change the world, we must invite new people into our story. So, please deliberate about this resolution as a “challenge” of sorts, to bring love and hospitality right into your home (or a restaurant that you want to take them to).
If this is something that interests you, I thought of a few things that might help all of us turn this into a successful, mutually beneficial endeavor. If you have more suggestions, please let me know in the comments, I am new to this, too!
1. Check your assumptions at the door. When I am spending time with new or different people, I tend to believe that they think certain things that they may or may not actually think. I need to work on that. Let that person’s own words define them, not your assumptions
2. Don’t use this to pity someone. It is easy to act like spending time with someone who does not quite fit in your social group is some charitable act. Be sure to remember that they are valuable and intelligent, just like you. Which brings me to my last suggestion…
3. This is mutual. They are spending time with you and building you up in the same manner that you are spending time with them.
So, that is my New Year Resolution, Do you have one that will help you change the world?