Out of the Mouths of Babes: If You’re So Upset, Do Something!

The other day, as I was ranting about the latest world atrocity, my daughter let me know she is done listening to my complaints. With a stern look, she reprimanded me: “Quit complaining. If you’re so upset, do something.” I stopped mid-sentence. One of those mother-daughter role reversal moments that floods me with parental indignation alongside chagrined concession that she is absolutely right.

Stop Complaining…Then What?

So I am hereby declaring a personal moratorium on lamenting, raging against, or just plain hiding from the current state of world affairs. And I have begun answering the question “What to do instead?”

To be fair to myself (someone needs to be!), it’s not as though I have ONLY been ranting.

I have also been writing a book about some of the very same issues we face today – only the story I tell took place nearly 100 years ago (the painful similarities are, themselves, grounds for a rant). More about this as we get closer to publication date in Spring 2017.

And I have worked for decades with high-poverty schools to increase educational opportunities for children.

Now I have this blog. Which offers me the chance to interact with other people and pass along information about the inspirational nuggets that shine amidst the debris.

Community-Based Action Perhaps?

A lot of the inspiring groups I have blogged about are issue-based. Today, I draw your attention to a faith-based approach that looks more holistically at community as its organizing principle. Key components of the model:


  • Roots its work in a strong community gathering center such as a church or a school
  • Trains ordinary people to lead
  • Sets its agenda by LISTENING to people in the community served
  • Teaches the art of COMPROMISE and NEGOTIATION so that the community can find common ground with those who hold the political power on issues affecting the community


In this time when it seems like outshouting one another is too often the default MO, the idea of listening, negotiating, and compromising is a breath of fresh air.

A Little Help from Our Friends

If this excites you, check out the PICO website. It’s loaded with ways to join in on community action already in progress. It also provides toolkits to help you organize your own community. Say, for example, around engaging your legislators. Or creating a social media campaign.

PICO operates in 17 states. My home state of Illinois is not one of them. A shout-out here to a friend who directed me to a similar local organization, the Community Renewal Society.

So for those of us who are tired of wringing our hands, using our outdoor voices indoors, or covering our ears and eyes, there is an option to join hands and “do something.” Together.

Puts a little wind in my sails this 4th of July. I hope it does the same for you.

Happy Holiday Weekend!

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