Let me be blunt, the Family Care Network needs you! We call ourselves “Family Care Network” because that is what, and who we are--a Network of all kinds of people, agencies and organizations working together to improve the lives of children, youth and families in a variety of ways. The bottom line: we offer an opportunity for everyone to contribute to improving the quality of life on our Central Coast.
Helen Keller said it so simply and purely, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” I hear people complain often about how self-centered, narcissistic and “me” oriented our culture has become. I do not disagree, but I have also seen the power of collaboration at work through our organization, where our Network has produced incredible outcomes with the most traumatized, dysfunctional and high needs individuals and families. The best remedy for combating cultural narcissism is to model effective collaboration!
Post World War II, there has steadily grown a disconnect between a sense of personal responsibility and the burgeoning plethora of social needs besetting our communities. In large part, this is attributable to a pervasive attitude that “someone else will do it.” People believe it is the government’s responsibility to take care of others in need, I mean, “Isn’t that why I pay taxes!” We have lost the sense of community taking care of its own.
Do not get me wrong, I do believe government has a degree of responsibility for taking care of people in need, but it absolutely must not stop there. Government funding has limited ability to address social ailments, as it should. In a healthy civil society, there must be a collective consciousness and belief that if one suffers, we all suffer. I love those old movies and stories about communities coalescing to help each other in times of crisis, tragedy as well as in promoting prosperity and wellbeing. Healthy communities are exemplified by people Coming Together to help others and to promote a high quality of life for everyone.
There once was a time when the faith-based community was front and center in promoting the common good for everyone. Unfortunately, their involvement now seems to be the exception not the rule. Again, folks are more interested in living within their self-centered bubbles, playing the critic and judge, and not the servant; not wanting to be bothered! Nobody wins with this attitude. What happened to the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you…”?
January is National Mentor Month. Mentors are awesome individuals willing to invest their time to benefit a child, youth, or even a young adult. This generosity of self is a perfect example of the community caring for itself; we just need lots more people with this kind of heart.
Similarly, Foster Parenting is another prime example of community members opening their homes to care for kids who need a family. None of us would ever believe it is better for a child or youth to be sent to an institution or group home to be raised, like the old orphanage model–kids need families. And yet these days, there are so few individuals willing to give of themselves in this way. Again, we are battling cultural misconceptions and the disconnect between seeing a need and addressing that need; instead, we hear, “It is not my responsibility,” “I do not want to be bothered,” or “Someone else will do it.”
My goal for the Family Care Network is to further build and strengthen our Network of Family Care! Here on the Central Coast, we have so many positive attributes and amazing people, and I believe we can become a model Caring Community, a real beacon for other communities to follow.
As we embark on 2019, let us Come Together to do more than we ever have to serve our local needs and solve local problems. Let’s not look to others to do what we can do ourselves. Sure, we will take every resource available; but the real resource is you and me working together for a common good!
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” must become our motto. There may be substantial needs and challenges that we are facing together, but together we possess the ability, skill, intelligence and creativity to provide meaningful, effective solutions! Please join the Family Care Network in working together to make our community, and the quality of life for everyone the best it can be! You can Be4kids; You can Be the Difference!