- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
As our Change Begins with Me campaign went live on the Case Foundation site, Steve and I were sitting around our dining room table enjoying dinner with 7 teenagers -- our kids and some of their friends. It is the night before Christmas Eve and everyone is busy chatting about what presents they have purchased, what experiences they had at the stores today and what friends they will see over Christmas break. I interrupt with news that the Change Begins with Me campaign is poised to go live on our site at any moment. This news is met with mixed reviews. Some think its great -- they love the way we've said that no commitment is too small. One or two question how real a commitment can be if expressed in 250 characters anyway. Others question how our example of shoveling a neighbor's drive is civic engagement. "That seems like a different category" they point out. After some discussion on the matter, there is recognition that it is smart to balance examples of the "small commitments" with examples of "big commitments," like encouraging citizens to think about increasing the number of health care clinics, creating more biking trails or working to eradicate malaria form the planet. I finally think the point is made that change will come to our neighborhoods, our communities, our nation and our world when each citizen makes a commitment to "get in the game" -- to help be the change by making a personal commitment to something they care about. Most nod in agreement. But then, while I don't actually see it, I sense a bit of a mental eye roll from one or two of them. Okay, you can't please all of the people all of the time, right?
After dinner, one daughter steps up to be the first to enter her commitment. I'm thinking this is a good sign. But then, it turns out that she, and others who were part of the conversation, are sweating this a little bit. She is wondering if our 6 month planned "update" on commitments is really an attempt to check up and "out" people who haven't filled their commitments. She wonders if our attempt to spotlight and report on commitment progress throughout this year on the Case Foundation site will really become the equivalent of the "volunteer police" -- checking on the status of commitments. I assured her that this is not the case. I tell her that our continuing coverage post-January is just an effort to be of service, remind people of their commitments and track collective progress we've made. I think this is funny and reflects a side to this we didn't consider -- diligent, responsible people will take this very seriously and worry that it puts them on the spot a bit. The worried daughter in this case volunteers 3 hours a week (faithfully) at a local therapeutic riding center so it struck me as odd that she would be concerned about this.
As for me, I am a bit red-faced because I don't know what to do with my own commitment. Should I specifically reference my commitment to the foundation and its work or should I come up with something completely new? Yet the idea of writing a public "commitment" has me thinking ... what should I say? What should I do? How do I make it sound just right?
I'm hoping this is a good thing. I'm hoping citizens everywhere take moment and truly reflect on the 250 characters. It won't help if people "over-think" this or make too much of this, but we are asking for real commitments. For some, the commitment may be small or simple but may be the FIRST experience of "jumping in" to make a difference. For activists, the 250 characters may flow easily. And then there will be everyone else. A little sweating. A little eye-rolling. Hopefully, a little smile. But hopefully the bottom line is that we'll all be better off when the 250 characters are completed and we celebrate the close of next year with commitments that have been fulfilled as one small step toward a stronger, healthier nation.