The greater good

by Lorin Michel Monday, May 19, 2014 10:11 PM

I don’t know when I started clicking to support the greater good. I do remember that at the time, I didn’t know that by supporting the greater good I was also supporting the Greater Good. Somehow an email had appeared in my aol inbox asking me to click every day to help needy pets. Since I am now and have forever been a sucker for animals, especially dogs, I thought the least I could do was click. Each click delivers a bowl of food to a homeless/shelter/rescue dog.

After clicking for kibble for a number of years, I noticed that I could also click to help women get mammograms. I clicked both religiously every day, for years. Recently, I’ve also been clicking for literacy to give books and more to kids everywhere. I feel like I’m doing some good. It’s the places that fulfill the kibble, the healthcare and the words that are doing the greatest good.

The Greater Good started in 1999 with the goal of providing easy, online ways to help people, animals and the planet. I’m a big fan of helping all of those things. Since they got started, they’ve contributed more than $30 million to various charities around the world. They support more than 130 charities, with grants that provide meals for the hungry and support sustainable practices to end poverty; provide micronutrients and oral rehydration formula to help sick babies and children; support breast cancer research and programs helping women receive free mammograms; support programs that rescue and care for abandoned pets or endangered animals until a permanent home can be found; help with autism; feed homeless veterans and provide assistance for finding homes and jobs; fund diabetes research; encourage reading and literacy by proving books; and even help to preserve rainforests around the world.

I get an email every day from theanimalrescuesite.com. I click and I give; then I click and I give to breast cancer; and then I click and I give to literacy. I don’t know why I only click to give to three. I think part of me wonders if I clicked on all that I could, it would somehow lessen the importance of the three that I do support. I know it’s not rational.

The greater good is something I take very seriously, not just with these clicks but with how I try to think and act every day. It’s easy and it’s hard. I try to treat people decently and yet I get enraged over bad drivers. When there’s traffic I find myself hoping for a good reason, a big accident, blood on the road. I don’t really want anyone hurt, I tell myself. I just want there to be a reason.

Is that good? No. But I realize it and I pacify myself by saying that my disgust isn’t directed at a particular person but rather at a situation.

I do good, I support charitable organizations, I help people when I see that they need help. Something as simple as helping the woman who was walking her dogs, stepped wrong and fell. I immediately ran to help her and to corral her dogs. I like to think that anyone would have done that; but I also know that not everyone would. I hope when I see people in need that I’ll respond. I hope to do good. But I’m not really doing the greatest good, or even the greater good. I can do better. I can be nicer; I can help more people. 

I'll never accomplish the greatest good – I don’t know if it’s humanly possible – but if I can accomplish a greater good, even if it’s just by helping homeless animals, disenfranchised women and kids who can’t read, then I feel like I’m doing something.

And something, even if it’s just clicking to support while I’m in my office every morning, is better than sitting around and doing absolutely nothing. It’s a start.

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