With any societal “issue” there are various ways of involvement: the political level and law, prevention, education, behind the scenes analysis and research, hands-on help, after the fact help (when prevention and education did not work), etc. Some avenues try to prevent problems from happening, but realistically problems still occur, and people will need help and assistance.
One person can not do ALL these things! I am so very tired of the criticism that often takes place. Someone is only criticized for what they are not doing, rather than encouraged for what they are doing!
An individual is compassionate and excels at helping people who have ended up in a mess, but this individual is only criticized for not being involved in prevention or politics. And vice-versa!
Do you expect them to do everything? If they did, they would be scattered, stretched thin, and ineffective!
And no human being is good at everything. Some are good with people and excel at working one-on-one with others. While some are better at behind the scenes work, contributing in indirect ways.
In addition, I increasingly observe criticism that if an individual is involved in ONE issue, they must also be involved in certain OTHER issues, or else they are accused of hypocrisy.
“If you are a ______ activist, you sure better be involved with _________ too!!”
At times, there may be some legitimacy here, but more often than not, I don’t see it. It is an unfair charge.
If someone was to try to be involved in all the ways and with all the issues that their critics suggest, they’d have to quit their jobs, neglect their families, and be a volunteer activist 80 hours a week!
And then they’d be criticized in some other way. Yes, they’d be criticized for being obsessed and doing too much!
YOU JUST CAN’T WIN!
I wonder why so many people are so quick to criticize the efforts of others to help, volunteer, make a difference?
Yes, there can be a time and place for critique. Charity can become toxic. Efforts to help can backfire. A group can lose focus, and may need to re-focus or change tactics. But that is not what I am typically observing. Rather, I observe unfair criticism based on inaccurate perceptions. Or the scales are tipped heavily on the critique side; there is constant criticism but rarely, if ever, a word of commendation or encouragement.
Please, encourage someone today in their area of service regarding a cause. They are likely criticized and discouraged by others often!
Let someone know that you notice and admire their weekly commitment to volunteer. Let someone know you are praying for them to be effective in their ministry. Let someone know that you are inspired by their passion. Etc.
(And hey…consider the fact that someone who receives encouraging words will generally be more open to critique or suggestion when there is a need for it!)
Rachel Nichols said:
To quote the virtuous pagan Confucious: It’s better to light a single candle than curse the darkness.
Thanks Rachel! A single candle can make a difference!