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Discover your giving moment in 2014

By: Tim Cusack

  |  Posted: Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 06:00 am

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When you take time to reflect upon your accomplishments garnered over the past year, what comes to mind? Did you give generously to some charitable cause? Did you volunteer as a coach or mentor? Did you participate in some form of community outreach or social justice project for the betterment of others? If so, great! If not, our esteemed Governor General, David Johnston, challenges you and all Canadians to give thought as to how you can make a positive difference towards building a more caring Canadian culture in 2014.

In his annual New Year’s message, Johnston indicated his desire to see a “smarter, more caring” Canadian society in 2014. In fact, he outlines a particularly intriguing challenge when he indicates that there is much work to do in building Canada’s “culture of giving.” In light of the numerous crisis Canadians faced in 2013 such as the recent ice storms in the east, the floods in southern Alberta last summer, horrific train derailments and other global issues, it seems that Canada already does well in the area of giving. Surely, Canadians excel when it comes to lending a hand? What more can we do?

Johnston calls on Canadians “to give their time, talent or money to build a stronger Canada.” He encourages those who give to share their story with others. The idea here is to actively promote and reinforce the work of those who contribute to their community. This is something that I believe is done very well in St. Albert. That said, in embracing the Governor General’s to share and pass on the “culture of giving” I will examine my contributions in all that I do and proactively seek ways to become more engaged in both the local and greater community. This, given the demands imposed by work schedules, deadlines and the “tyranny of the now” will prove to be an edifying challenge. It is a challenge I hope all will consider.

Often the rule of 20:80 is at play when it comes time to pitch in and lend a hand. This is to say that it is normally 20 per cent of the people who do 80 per cent of the work. A generalization I realize, but the truth is not too far off. Consider your workplace or organizations with whom you are affiliated. If each person did his or her full share, what would that look like? What benefits would be derived?

Johnston states: “It does not matter if your gift is large or small. We all have something to contribute, and I encourage everyone to find out what that could be.” His words carry an inspiring and hopeful message; a fitting challenge to commence the new year. In reflecting upon this message to find my “giving moment” particularly at that time of year when making resolutions is the norm, I am reminded of these fitting quotations that will hopefully make my resolution become a habit in the weeks ahead:

“Daily ripples of excellence – over time – become a tsunami of success” – Robin Sharma

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

May we all be inspired to find meaningful ways to contribute to our “smarter and more caring” Canada in 2014!

Tim Cusack is an educator, writer and serving member of the naval reserve.


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