Contribution can sound like an awfully big and important word. It can add pressure to our existence as if we have to find something that we own or do that is sufficiently significant to ‘bring to the party’.
When in preschool, my now 26-year-old son, attended a small private school in the Perth hills which turned out to be a haven for ‘dinner party mums and dads’. I am in no way trying to typecast people but there was a tendency for intense competition for food preparation and presentation that preceded Master Chef or MKR – in fact, the same group of people could be the ‘missing link’ in that particular evolutionary chain. I was somewhat naïve to this nuance although looking back there were numerous indicators. At the end of the first year, there was a parents’ get together and request to ‘bring a plate’. As usual, my life was full and I turned to the old favourite – a hot chicken cut into eights that I even took the time to put onto a plate rather than hand over in the original packaging. Everything was going swimmingly until the meal and I realised that my ‘plate’ was the obvious answer to the ‘what here is not like the others?’ question. In a sea of homemade ‘vol au vents’, apple cider, spinach and asparagus pastries, and macaroons lay a limp chicken on an even limper bed of lettuce. Of course, I completely ignored my meagre offerings (as did everyone else) and at the end of the evening, forgot I had even taken a plate to the event. As we walked to our car, I turned to my husband and said, ‘Hey I think we’ve left our plate. Can you nip back and grab it?’ He looked at me intelligently – he hadn’t missed our narrow miss from disaster – no words were spoken. We just kept walking.
That is sometimes how we can feel about our contribution: is it good enough, big enough, significant enough?
But take the pressure off.
Instead, think one act at a time, one person at a time, one contribution at a time.
I often reflect that if each of us helped and supported one person then our society would be very different. If we committed to walk one other person through difficult times, encourage their achievements, and call them on to stretch and remain curious.
This kind of contribution is magnificent.
It may look a small contribution to outsiders – who cares?
To insiders (those starring in the story), that kind of contribution is life changing.
So, let’s keep growing our world.
One person at a time…