Yesterday several blogs and media outlets reported on Jennifer Hudson and her sister Julia celebrating the life of her nephew and Julia’s son, Julian D. King. The sisters celebrated what would’ve been Julian’s 10th birthday by donating school supplies to the De La Salle Institute in Chicago for the first Julian D. King Gift Foundation Hatch Day celebration. As much as we complain about the many selfish acts celebrities seem to indulge in these days, it’s nice to see them also taking time to give back to the communities that gave so much to them. But how many of us do the same?
Take a moment to look over the Twitter feeds and Facebook walls of some your friends and family and you’ll see post after post about shoes, food, music, sex and Basketball Wives, but very few posts talking about what they did that day, week or even month, to give back to their community. I don’t know about anyone else but giving back has been apart of my life since I can remember. I clearly remember spending summers delivering my grandmother’s home cooked food to neighbors around corners and over backyard fences because she knew they needed a little extra that month. Because she remembered that time when someone helped her with a little extra. I was always taught to donate what I didn’t need to those that did and both of my grandmothers went to churches that traveled the world, literally, donating to others and spreading a little hope and faith in the process. The saying ‘Blessed are those that bless others’ were more than words spoken during my upbringing, they were a way of life.
As an adult ensconced in the day to day world of social media, relationships, work, dreams and reality television, I know how hard it can be to find time to give back in ways that involve more than pushing a ‘donate’ button on your computer screen. I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in your own needs, but with all the bigger issues going on around me I make giving back a priority in my life. The same way I make time for that hair appointment, that meeting and those happy hour drinks, is the same way I make time to mentor young girls from Girls, Inc., spend time with victims of domestic violence through my women’s organization and feed the less fortunate at my local food pantries. I make time. I have been amazingly blessed and have never had to know a hungry or roofless night, but so many others have known it on more than one occasion, so while my stress over wanting a promotion, missing my favorite show or having my pockets a bit tight this month may seem like the end of the world to me at times, I know life could be much worse.
This is a fact that many of us tend to forget and take for granted after we say our morning prayers and go about our days. We think that saying to God (or whatever higher power you believe in) how grateful we are for another day is enough, however we forget that He also requires us to live a life of service; to pass on the blessings we have been given to someone who may need it more. We get so caught up in our own lives that we forget to make time, real time, to give back. If it sounds like I’m preaching, believe me that is not my intention. My intention is to remind you that as you go through life be sure to take a moment to make time for giving back. Because life’s true blessing doesn’t come from making a difference in your own life, but in the lives of those around you.