In this class we are taught to critically think about advocacy. We discuss what good advocacy means, and how it requires certain aspects such as collaborating with the main benefactors, being well informed about the issue, and maintaining a long-term outlook. Issues of slacktivism versus activism arise in conversation, and case studies are observed to provide further insight on what not to do.
While these lessons are important if we want to become successful advocates, these conversations can be draining. It forces you to spend more time on thinking about how you will enact change than time you spend on the actual service. It can leave you feeling a little deflated (imagine a helium balloon that is still lying around the house a week after the party).
This week Aaron offered an activity that rejuvenated this energy and passion for kindness our class has. Many of my group members have written about this day, so please check out their post for more details!
I want to briefly share my takeaways from this day. It reminded me that while keeping a critical eye on your advocacy strategies is important, your ability to enact kindness in your everyday life is not required to be put on hold. The two are not mutually exclusive, but rather can coexist and support one another. It also reminded me that kindness is contagious and how recruiting others into caring for others is easier than it seems. Although Aaron funded this project (thanks again!) he was able to save time by sending out 20 students to take action, instead of single handedly participating in this activity. Our enthusiasm then spread to friends and family that we shared this experience with thus expanding the number of individuals who were impacted by this activity.
So if you feel so compelled to start implementing acts of kindness into your daily life, my advice is to first think about those individuals who have impacted you. Maybe it’s a parent, professor, or friend. What did they do or say that brightened your day? Now try to harness that, and build on it for others. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it should be genuine.