Livermore’s second strategy for making a global difference right now is, inform and recruit.
In other words, you are not being awarejust for awareness’s sake. Getting the word out can make a global difference. But let’s say that in a bolder way: getting the word out can change the world.
The question is, how do you want to change it? From this point on, Livermore’s strategies assume one important thing: that you have chosen your battles. Causes are not supposed to be social bling for your Facebook page. Being aware is about becoming an advocate and activist. Your resources are limited (if they are not, contact me—I have some ideas), so you must pick where you will invest them. There are too many issues to tackle at once, so you must use your time selectively.
Livermore suggests working your chosen issues into your daily interactions. This should be fairly natural if you actually care about them.
Social media has made it clear that concerned people can make an international impact. Nothing has both explained and demonstrated this as emphatically as Kony 2012:
There are some parts of this that make me very uncomfortable. So here is the disclaimer: be aware means really be aware. Advocating in ignorance can be dangerous. Read these articles and look for others: ‘Kony 2012’ viral video by Invisible Children stirs debate and Ugandans Pelt ‘KONY 2012’ Leaders With Rocks, But White House Door Is Open. Anything this big gets politicized, becomes the focus of conspiracy theory, and rightly raises questions of financial accountability. Anything that results in the deployment of US troops is questionable to say the least. Anything that is criticized by the very people it is supposed to help must be carefully examined. I don’t know what is good information at this point. If I were interested in making this one of my causes, my next step would be to contact missionaries in Uganda to get some local perspective. For me personally, I would probably be unable to support something that resulted military action or even resentment and retaliation from the local population. I would rather promote a reconciliation initiative.
The video is still an inform-and-recruit masterpiece. It is important to read the subtext of the phenomenon, rather than be intimidated by the professional grade of the particular example (there is a multi-million dollar budget behind it, not to mention special interests). The subtext reads: inform-and-recruit works when relationships generate conviction. If you are convicted, you do have the power to become contagious. But do not be deceived. It is far more important for you to be contagiously convicted than than for your video or blog post to become viral.
Cohen Timothy, you have crossed the one year hurdle. I will have to say that you have grown so much in just the last month. I have tried to keep track of all of your accomplishments. You aren’t walking yet, but you are definitely more interested. Here is all that you are doing…
1. You like to walk with help. You cruise everywhere. We have caught you cruising along the couch and turning to walk over to the table. You are so frustrated that you can’t do it. You also love to push things around to help with the walking process… Chairs, the coffee table, the girls’ play kitchen. You are a hoot to watch, and you are so proud of yourself when you find something to push. I really don’t think it will be long.
2. Diaper changes are next to impossible sometimes. I used to wonder why all the public restroom changing tables needed those security belts–Ana and Maggie never had issues squirming on the changing table. You, on the other hand, are a completely different story. And you are strong. You don’t like to be on your back for long, for sure. We have had many wrestling matches. For now, I always get the pen.
3. Your communication has taken off this month. I read in my baby bulletin that your age can understand a lot. It is true with you. You love saying “Mama” (that is definitely your favorite word), but you also say “Dada,” “Nana” (Ana), “ahh-duh” (all done), and “yah” (yes). You will sign for milk, all done, and more. We will ask you a yes or no question and you will either respond with “yah” or just look at us. I will say, “Go get your drink,” and you will crawl over to wherever your cup it laying.
4. You love to applaud yourself and others. If we are ever clapping during a song, you clap right along with us. When we sing, you will hold out a long “ahhhh” like you are trying to sing with us.
5. One of the CUTEST things you are doing right now is blowing kisses. You place your hand on your mouth and loudly make a kissing sound, and then you throw it. It is definitely a crowd pleaser. You also wave good-bye and night-night with your hand like you are doing a chomp motion.
6. One of your favorite rooms in the house is the bathroom. We try to keep toilet lids closed and bathroom doors closed, but with a three-year-old, things happen. You especially enjoy swirling your hand down in the toilet water… yuck. And I have found a few objects you have thrown in the toilet. Again, something your sisters NEVER did. Your second favorite place is my kitchen. You love to open all the drawers, empty the cups out of the cabinets, and take all my canned goods off the shelf. You are easily entertained when I need to cook, but the kitchen floor is a mess when we are done!
7. A new favorite breakfast food is cornflakes with milk. I put the cereal in a bowl and let it start the “soggy” process, and then I put it on your tray. You love it.
8. You got your first haircut. You are sooooo handsome with your new cut. It is amazing to me how cutting a baby’s hair makes him look like a little boy. We went to Liliana’s to have it done, and you were not a fan. at.all.
8. You weaned yourself at the beginning of 11 months. You seemed to be having teething problems, and I tried to nurse you (which ALWAYS comforted your sisters) but you would have nothing to do with it. You completely stopped, and we started giving you cow’s milk. There has been no regrets and no turning back since then.
9. You had your first major fall last this week. Sister #1 thought she was “closing” the gate on your bed. I layed you down for a nap and you started crying (normal for some naps). I waited about 15 minutes, went up to check on you, and found you in the floor. You had a huge lump on your forehead and a bloody nose! You lived through it, and so did your sister. 😉
10. You love to cuddle, whether it be with Daddy or me. You burrow your head into our shoulder and just stay there for a moment. If I have been away for the morning, I come home and can tell you have missed me. You say, “Mama!” and immediately crawl over to me, put your arms up to be held, and snuggle into my shoulder like you are giving me a hug.
11. You are definitely attached to your “Monkey.” When we give it to you and you are tired, you hold it real close to your face and lay your head down. You also are very attached to your pacifier.
For your birthday this year, Momma made a cake on the actual day. It was Thursday and we have a Bible study with Etelvina, Tania and Roxy, and Areli. They didn’t mind getting in on your cake action. You gobbled that spice cake with butter cream icing like there was no tomorrow. Your sisters loved helping me put your chocolate candies on the cake to make a “1.”
You also really love the dump truck that Areli got you for your birthday. I can’t say that we are a fan of the music, but it makes us happy that you have a toy of your very own.
We really didn’t have a good evening to host a big shindig. I wanted to have a big party for you, but your one-year birthday coincided with Momma’s launch of the library program. Sorry third child. We ended up feeding the church for our April Celebration Meeting. We ate Gourmet hot dogs with all the fixin’s, Chinese Slaw, and chips. They all really enjoyed it. We played games at the park. You enjoyed watching the volleyball action from the sideline.
And this was my first attempt at decorating a cake for a little boy. I got your sister, Maggie, the little farm set for her second Christmas. It turned out to be a nice cake topper. And the animal pieces from your puzzle came in handy as well. 🙂
I took you to get your one year vaccinations. They couldn’t administer them at the time so they made a home visit that afternoon. They were able to weigh and measure you. Without looking at your card, I remember you weighing in at 23 pounds. You are strong and healthy. We certainly couldn’t ask for anything more.
Now that it’s April, I come to that critical juncture. Given that I’ve done absolutely nothing so far, will I persevere in the resolution, or will it become a forgotten intention? And really, who has time for resolutions anyway? Much less blogging about them. In fact, resolving to blog about a resolution—that’s just asking for it. What was I thinking? I resolve not to do this next year. This year, however, I’m unfortunately trapped by my keen sense of obligation and my deep psychological aversion to incomplete undertakings. Moving on then . . .
Livermore’s first strategy for making a global difference right now is, Be aware.
The idea here is to realize how wrapped up we are in the personal, local, familiar stuff around us and make an effort to broaden our horizons. Most of us wouldn’t even pass a high school world geography exam, forget being conversant on child trafficking in Myanmar or political unrest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Confession: just last night I was trying to sort out the difference between Suiza (Switzerland) and Suecia (Sweden) in Spanish. I was having quite a difficult time of it, because I kind of forgot about there being such a thing as Sweden. Apologies to my Nordic readers.
Some practical steps toward awareness
Livermore lists some suggestions, a couple of which I tweak and add to below:
1. “Consume a variety of news sources to see how the ‘same’ events get reported differently.” This alone can make a huge difference in your perspective. There is no such thing as unbiased media. If you only watch one network because of political views, which seems to have become normal in the US, then repent. You shouldn’t be listening to hear what you want, you should be listening to get informed. The only option we have to offset journalistic bias is to diversify and compare with a vengeance.
2. I broaden another of Livermore’s suggestions a bit: take full advantage of the internet’s news collating potential. He lists http://worldpress.org as a source of info., which is great. But don’t overlook über powerful tools like Google News. When you are logged into your Google account, you can customize your Google news feed to your interests.
3. Focus your prayer. Rather than making awareness about the drudgery of homework, make your awareness-building an act of prayer. Use something like the World Food Programme’s Hunger Map. Pray for one of the hungriest countries each day. You can compliment this with information on that country from a site like the Joshua Project. I’m not an advocate of their rubric for determining what is an unreached people, but they have a phenomenally systematized database. A variety of different vantage points are available on the site’s Discover page. There is an overwhelming amount of information here, so don’t get bogged down or discouraged by lack of time to absorb it all. Just pick a country or people cluster, for example, pay attention to where it is, learn a bit about it, and take a few minutes to pray for it.
Imprecatory Psalms have always bothered me. Reading some of David’s, it struck me for the first time that he was a violent man, used to killing his enemies. In this light, his imprecatory prayers are a profound statement of unwillingness to do violence himself, willingness to leave vengeance and wrath to a just God. Imprecation is, paradoxically, non-retaliatory. Perhaps we wish that he had intended no violence at all, that he had been incapable of ascribing such acts to God. But he did, and it impresses me that a man with violence in his heart and renown as a warrior (read: killer) would pray away his need for a reckoning.