The next four years will be among the most important in our nation’s history. We all have work to do if we are to build thriving, equitable, and sustainable communities and a strong democracy for future generations. We need everyone to develop a civic leadership mindset, habits, & skills to be better human beings, inspire others, and “be the change we wish to see in the world.”
Imagine: If all Americans of good will, good health and a measure of financial or employment security would devote an hour a week to service and an hour a day to becoming the best human beings they could be, the world would look very different. (PDF version)
Choose Civic Faith
- We are all deeply connected to one another and to something beyond ourselves.
- Trust our intuitions of an oceanic feeling, of being connected to something beyond ourselves, of some sort of spiritual dimension.
- Our faith affects our actions: Take time to understand with head and heart how to act wisely on these intuitions.
- Trust that these changes in our mindsets and action can lead to change in the broader world.
- Trust that progress is possible toward greater individual and collective wisdom, compassion, courage, energy, and perseverance, & our job is to make it a reality.
- We can’t “prove” this civic, moral and spiritual approach is better than the alternatives but, ultimately, we need to make a choice about the world we will work toward or acquiesce in.
Commit to Becoming a Better Human Being
- Grow in self-awareness of your needs, emotions, and actions because reflexive anger, frustration, annoyance, and othering, or a compulsive need for action and stimulation harm us in the long term.
- Cultivate positive emotions of gratitude, joy, hope, and kindness, which bring us together in friendship and community.
- Don’t avoid seeing and feeling the suffering in the world, the looming challenge of climate change, and the daunting task that human beings face in building and sustaining good communities and healthy democracies. Whether your are hearing about it from afar or seeing it on the street, let your empathy, fear and anger be a source of energy and strength for us.
- Integrate your civic faith and values into your actions, large and small.
- Practice solitude: deep reflection, meditation, journaling, or prayer to feel connected to something beyond yourself.
- Get outdoor physical exercise, whether as part of your solitude practice or not, to boost your energy and endorphins and reduce stress.
- Find inspiration & wisdom by learning about the stories of people like Dr. King or Eleanor Roosevelt who have worked to help humankind make moral progress; about local heroes who have worked to do the same in their communities; and about the latest social science showing that a prosocial approach to life works for us as individuals as well as for the larger world.
- Look directly at the suffering in the world each day; seek to feel and understand it. Read an article or book or watch a video on racism, poverty, climate change, or other issues. Use your empathy, fear and anger to motivate yourself.
Act, Serve, & Connect
- Service: Get off the sidelines and make a concrete difference in the life of a child as a tutor or mentor or get involved in some other way!
- Stand up for your values and practice courage in your interactions with people at work, home, and all around you: You will make a difference in the world, be a better human being, and inspire others!
- Organize your life for simplicity so you have the time to do what?s important instead of just what is urgent.
- Dialogue with friends and family to better understand ourselves and each other and find joy in our shared journeys.
- Connect with strangers in gesture, conversation and acts of kindness and discover our shared humanity.