Ask Not What Your Country Can Do: Changing the Culture of Entitlement

A friend of mine recently asked me if I thought that some African American’s have kept up with the platform/performance of President Obama or are they just content that there is an African American president?

Never have we witnessed a mobilization of people during this recent election since the segregation era in which people like Martin, Medgar, Malcolm, Rosa, and countless others fought diligently to afford us equal liberties as our counterparts. When it fact today all liberties aren’t equal, if it were so there wouldn’t be wealth, health, or education disparities. Fast forward to 2010 and all things related to change and forward movement seems passé. The momentum from pre-election and shortly after has waned. We care not to carry the burden of our neighbor’s issues, but rather turn a blind eye or point a finger without lifting one. The African Proverb “it takes a village” holds true. We can’t do everything, but we can do something.

Most people think Mother Theresa started off caring for the less fortunate and sick. She didn't. She started a school teacher, one day walking down the streets of Calcutta she had an experience that little did she know it would change her life forever. She heard the cries of a sick man. She desperately tried to get him to a hospital, and at arriving at the first hospital was told they wouldn't treat him because he was too poor. She pleaded with them that he was going to die and needed attention. Still they refused. She took him all the way to a second hospital. There she was also told they wouldn't treat him. She pleaded again. Finally she went to a third, they refused also. The sick man died in her arms. She made a decision right there that as long as she was around, no one would suffer unnecessarily. These simple actions changed her life. The result? A trail of influence. Stop and decide right now who you are committed to being, to take yourself to the next level. Decide right now that following through on this is an absolute must for you.

Have any of you seen the movie Pay It Forward? This was an unconditional display of the human spirit and an excellent example of how one person impacted the world. The movie is about a little boy- I believe he is about 10 years old. He has an idea to do something good for three people and those three people must do a good deed for three people in return. A simple concept and it worked. This little boy’s actions and altruism spread rapidly and affected an entire community. He took an idea, put it into action, but most importantly didn’t allow it to stop with him. He moved it forward. I ask this of you today- take your thinking and actions to the next level, be open-minded and receptive to new ways of thinking. Think outside of the box. Fold that box of normalcy and step out of your comfort zone. Growth can be uncomfortable, but the pros outweigh the cons.

Time stops for no one and you have to move as such to keep up or better yet to get ahead. Progress requires action and this action begins with you. This begins with changing your mindset. Mediocrity breeds complacency. We are our bother’s/sister’s keeper. Things will not get better if we let them be. Teach a child to read, feed a hungry neighbor, clean up the neighborhood, visit the sick, and train a child (even if it’s not your own), and be a problem solver/resolution seeker. Complaining and pointing fingers changes nothing. In the words of Mohandas Gandhi, “you be the change you want to see in the world.”

Skyy Banks is an author and freelance writer who is a native of Arkansas and now calls Atlanta, GA her home. Banks enjoys reading, writing, and traveling. Banks uses her writing as a platform to encourage her readers to explore taboo subjects and engage in dialogue to find solutions. She is a self-motivated woman and knows the world is waiting for her greatness. "The only limits are the ones I place upon myself; I don't have any."

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