It takes a village

I was walking to the gym after work yesterday and right outside there was a boy, maybe 10 years old, trying to sell what was obviously the surplus of his halloween candy to passers-by. I have a soft spot for kids, they could sell me anything. That boy could have been selling me 10 pounds that would instantly be added to my hips and I probably would still oblige.

Despite my intentions of burning off the surplus candy I had previously eaten,  I gave the kid a quarter and took a tiny box of smarties. Now, this kid caught me right after work and before eating dinner, which is that liminal time where I will tell anyone just what I’m thinking. I looked at this kid and said “You will undoubtedly be a very entrepreneurial and successful adult, but when you are, remember that you did not get there on your own.” He probably doesn’t know what entrepreneurial means, and probably considers me ‘the crazy lady’ rather than ‘the sage spirit guide” but what I said is true. I didn’t need the smarties, I just was getting behind this kid who was doing something that didn’t involve pokemon or video games.

Almost every rich or successful person I’ve had contact with always tells of how they had no help and did it all on their own. They have some ‘pulling up by the boot straps’ story that paints them as not only the hero, but the sole actor in their success story. Not only is this perspective untrue, it creates a feeling of entitlement to every excess thing you have and holds others to an impossible standard (impossible because, again, it’s a distorted lens with which to view your success). There are so many factors that got you where you are. They may be structural (gender, race, economic background) or they may be based on how much the community around you invested into you. And this is why community is a great thing to get involved in.

This isn’t just a finger pointing rant, in fact, this is more an expression of my gratitude. When I look back over the last decade I notice that by some amazing grace I have lived a life of provision and I recognize that even though I work hard, any success I have is covered in the fingerprints of the community of people around me. Just recently I got offered a new job. The amount of people who played a part in me achieving this far outweighs how well I typed up my resume or performed during my interview (now that I think about it, I also had help typing up my resume).

In the same way that we need to recognize what people and factors contribute to where we find our place in society, I’m urged to think about how I can further invest in the people in my community.

Is it too early for new years resolutions? for 2012 I resolve to give more freely and cheerfully of my time and finances so that others can experience the awesome provision of community.

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About Ashley Drake
Don't cha wish your girlfriend could blog like me

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