I think most everyone asks themselves at one point or another what their purpose is. Why are we here? What have we done today or any day to make the world a tiny bit better?
Most of us aren't policy-makers or multi-millionaires; we can't change the plight of a village in a day or feed all the hungry. We aren't all prepared to become full-time social activists or to voice a protest that would jeopardize our family's livelihood and wellbeing.
But I'm a firm believer in 'voice'. We all have a voice, no matter how soft or how loud. No matter if we use it sparingly or constantly. And we can use that teeny tiny voice or that GIANT BOOMING VOICE to make a little difference every day.
I'm living in a country where worker welfare has been thrust (finally!) onto the forefront of the national agenda. There are many official bodies working to turn an existing system upside down to better the plight of foreign laborers. Most of the agenda items they are dealing with are beyond my remit and my control. I fully support them, but I realize that my voice carries little weight at that level.
But some - SOME - differences I am able to make on a daily basis ALL ON MY OWN. Simple things, little things, big things. I can make a little difference every day. Little differences that thousands of people just like me have used over the years to contribute and lend credence to the shift in perception that is now reverberating in this country. I have a voice, shouldn't I be compelled to use it?
The other day, as I was dropping Kiddo off at school, I saw a dad give the crossing guards some juice boxes. He made a little difference. Because he was helping them stay hydrated, but mostly because he 'noticed' that they might be hot and thirsty. And cared enough to do something about it. We all like to know someone cares.
There are so many people toiling around us each day. So many lives that we can touch by caring. By caring enough to do something. Or ask something. Or show we care about something. Even just a little something.
Every office, establishment and compound in Qatar comes with some degree of cleaning, pantry, maintenance and security staff. These people do everything from clean toilets, offer to help carry paperwork, remember that someone likes mint but no sugar in their tea, and so much more.
I've written out a list of questions below, for me, to figure out where I am using my voice to show these people I care and where I might try to use it more.
Do I know the name of the young man who brought me my coffee with two scoops of sugar and a 'spot' of milk this morning? Did I call him by his name and say 'thank you' when he brought it to me today?
Did I smile at the security guard who asked me for my I.D. before letting me into the parking facility at work and thank him for a job well done? Did I ask him if the night shift had been long?
Have I ever brought the compound maintenance staff a nice chicken curry 'just because', or had my child bring compound security staff a note that says 'thanks for keeping us safe'?
Do I hold the door open for the weighted down delivery man at the office?
Do I actually stop to have conversations with those people in my life who make a difference to me every day? Do I actually care about THEIR day?
It may be that my greatest purpose in life ends up being 'caring'. Caring leads to 'doing'. There are many things I simply cannot do. But there are little things I can. Little things that show I care.
It's just a matter of recognizing them, and doing them. And maybe, just maybe, one little thing will make a little difference in someone's life. And make their life just 'a tiny bit' better. And eventually, if we're all doing it, maybe collectively make a monumental difference. Or maybe not. Maybe a little difference in one person's life is all the purpose we need.
If we all commit to that little bit, eventually it might amount to a lot.
I would love to hear how you've made a little or a big difference. In the world you live in. Inspire me!