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EmptyNest's avatar

Do you feel you have made or are making a difference for the betterment of mankind?

Asked by EmptyNest (2028 points ) November 3rd, 2011

For example, I got married, got divorced, raised my children, give to charities, sponsor a child in Kenya. But it’s not enough. I want to do more. I’d rather live in a hut, saving lives everyday than live in a mansion having never given back.

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44 Answers

Pheasant's avatar

When I worked, yes. Put all that money into the economy that helps all. Not to mention the product the factory made to help others, and turn a profit at the same time. Retired now.

EmptyNest's avatar

Thanks, @Pheasant, at least someone is feeling fulfilled! Good for you!

Bellatrix's avatar

I think I do @EmptyNest. Not in a huge way but I do think I make a small difference. My work involves helping people reach their goals. If I can inspire someone to not give up or to find the right path for them, I think that makes a difference to the world. Who knows where they may end up or what they may achieve?

EmptyNest's avatar

@Bellatrix, Yes! That’s exactly what I’m talking about! Way To Go!

Bellatrix's avatar

What is it you would like to do? What is the ‘more’ that inspires you @EmptyNest? And what is holding you back?

EmptyNest's avatar

I’ve read books and seen movies where other people are following their hearts to make the world a better place. For instance “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boon. I saw a movie called “Born to be Wild” in 3D at an Imax Theater in a science museum where a woman spent 25 years or so working with orphaned baby elephants. I thought to myself, I want to go there! I fell in love with those elephants. My children are grown and gone. I sit here in this apartment. I want to join the peace corps or something, you know?

Bellatrix's avatar

So I ask again, what is stopping you doing something to make a difference? Especially if your kids are grown and you are there alone? Seems to me like this is your time. I started on the path I am on now because my sister was talking about one of her aspirations and I said “I would love to do that” and she said “why don’t you?”. I didn’t have an answer. So the same day I took steps to make it happen. :-)

You may not be able to join the peace corps, but I would stake my house on the fact that there is something you can do that will make a difference to people’s lives. Even the smallest things can make a huge difference to other people. I hope you will tell us what it is you decide to do.

EmptyNest's avatar

Many moons ago I taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. Teaching is something I love to do. I write and try to be inspiring to others. If someone is hungry, I feed them. I’m a good neighbor. I am looking into some options now but don’t know how to go about it. I’m currently unemployed and looking for work so I’m at a cross-roads.

Bellatrix's avatar

I tend to believe, things find us. It sounds like you are a caring and involved person so I am sure before you know it people will be knocking on your door with ideas for things you can do. Then the challenge will be learning to say “no, I have enough to do”. We have some fabulous volunteering sites here in Australia. Perhaps you could see if there is something similar where you are? On the site here, there are so many different organisations looking for people and covering a whole range of different tasks and experience. And of course often, volunteer work leads to permanent and paid jobs. It also looks so good on your resume.

smilingheart1's avatar

I have at times thought as you do @emptynest, being in partially similar circumstaces, however your positive presence lights up wherever you are, lights up some lives just because they know you are there. Only eulogies, unfortiunately seem to reveal how wonderful life was just because that certain someone was in the world. However, I agree with @bellatrix that if you stay keen to contribute, something will become evident to you which is your next step answer to finding fulfillment. On that more of us had hearts and attitudes similar to yours.

dabbler's avatar

Betterment of mankind? That sounds so grand and unreachable, most of the time it’s hard enough to be harmless.

I think going through day-to-day life with the intention to be kind makes a difference – and is vastly underrated.

I do teach a class once a week on a volunteer basis.

ucme's avatar

I helped put my two awesome kids on this rock, that’s good enough for me.

EmptyNest's avatar

@dabbler, I love your answer! “Most of the time it’s hard enough to be harmless”! Made me laugh out loud! I agree that my statement “betterment of mankind” sound seem grand and unreachable but I think it’s a personal to everyone. And it sounds to me that you are indeed doing your part. @ucme I agree with you! My ex used to say that I had no dreams. Really? As if raising children wasn’t good enough? It’s a HUGE job and one that I took very seriously. Kudos to you!

LuckyGuy's avatar

You don’t have to work with baby elephants in Africa to fill a need or make the world a better place. There are people right in your own country/neighborhood who need help. For example, you can volunteer with Habitat for Humanity to help a poor family, (who is willing to work for it, by the way) build a home for themselves. They will learn about hard work, volunteerism, and work ethics and you will learn about home construction and meet great people. Everyone learns and develops skills.

The most worthwhile efforts are the ones that help people help themselves. They are sustainable and make the biggest difference in the long run.
Consider this humor with a message .

EmptyNest's avatar

Wow, I must be getting tired… made a mess of that last response! LOL

EmptyNest's avatar

Hey, @worriedguy, maybe I’m overtired from having been up all night but your first line cracked me up! I love the collective humor of this site! Great suggestions, too. Thanks!

dabbler's avatar

@EmptyNest and @ucme I agree ref raising kids. I don’t have kids but I admire greatly the parents of the world who stick to it day-after-day and raise their kids to be decent productive human beings. Hats off to you !

EmptyNest's avatar

@smilingheart1, what a nice thing to say! Thank you!

ucme's avatar

@EmptyNest & @dabbler Well, we both had a hand in raising them obviously, but I was more concerned with the fact that two children who will grow up to be respectable contributers to society in their adult life, will, in their own small way, make a difference to this world.

EmptyNest's avatar

@ucme, and who knows? Maybe in a big way! :-)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

No, I’m having a rough time with people.

bongo's avatar

I would say that I am trying to work towards it.
I am currently doing an MRes in Sustainable Aquaculture and Fisheries, and so would like to one day help to increase sustainability of current fishing practices or help with the management of the UK fish production industry. I have been to Madagascar and South Africa and done voluntary work based on my studies and always recycle, give what money I can to charity and eat little meat and fish. I do have a car however it is small and I only use it when I have to and rarely drive alone. I have low heating bills as I am a student and so can not afford it but I still feel there is much more that I can do.
I wouldn’t say I would want to do these things for the betterment of mankind, more for the increase of sustainability of human living. (although maybe that is in a way the same thing as by ensuring sustainability of human activities this ultimately increases the likelihood of more humans surviving for a longer time and therefore the betterment of mankind?)

Ayesha's avatar

I’d like to think I’m trying :) Yes, I am. But on a very small scale.
@Adirondackwannabe I don’t believe that.

Mariah's avatar

No, so far my existence has harmed other people and the Earth more than it has helped. Hopefully I will live long enough to reverse that, though. I have plans to do so.

EmptyNest's avatar

@bongo, “betterment of mankind” is just the term I used. Yours works just as well. My idea was basically when you leave this Earth, will you have left it a better place, regardless of the size of the scale. It seems you hit the nail on the head. I’d be very happy with the achievements you’ve listed @ayesha, sometimes just helping one person can make a World of difference. @Mariah, I bet that’s not true. I’m sure there are many times you’ve helped and not even realized it. @Adirondackwannabe I don’t know you well enough to know if you are being serious or not…hmmm

Mariah's avatar

@EmptyNest Thank you, that’s very kind. What little good I have done doesn’t outweigh what I have taken, though, not yet.

Welcome to Fluther!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@EmptyNest My apologies. I was in a little bit of a black mood until someone in a saree kicked me in the ass and readjusted my attitude. I’ll be good to mankind now.
Oh yes, welcome to fluther.

EmptyNest's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe, no apology needed! And thank you and @Mariah for the welcome!

Ron_C's avatar

I think I do make a difference, I speak the truth to power through our local newspaper, have discussions with fundamentalist religionists and brought my children up to respect the rights of others and to speak up when necessary, and I vote. That is about all the power left to us that are not politically connected.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The SO and I have decided not to have children; not for the betterment of mankind, but it does contribute to a certain degree. We both recycle as much as possible. There is more that can be done, and hopefully, we will adjust at needed.

rojo's avatar

No, not really but then again I am in a funk today and do not have a very positive outlook.

mazingerz88's avatar

Betterment of mankind. There’s an awful lot of kids out there who need guidance, support and inspiration. They truly are what would shape the future of mankind and if one well meaning person could somehow influence a child’s thinking for the better, sooner or later that would benefit mankind in the long term.

Depending on how you view Obama’s contribution to this country, if you think he contributed something good by working his way up from being a social worker to president, then you have to give huge credit to his mother and grandparents who supported and inspired him.

But of course, not every kid could be president. If however, one successfully influences a child to one day, as an adult, start asking questions like how can he or she work to better mankind, then that would be truly a great mission accomplished.

Coloma's avatar

I used to be very co-dependent on the state of the world and felt deeply a lot of sadness for the injustices and cruelties. Often when we are feeling extremely upset over things outside of us, it is a projection of our OWN less than loving self.

I have been very involved with many community causes and groups over the years, but, these days I am at peace and content to do my own little thing and have healthily detatched from my need to save the world, fucked up people, and I put most of my energy into “rescuing” animals and maintaining my little Walden Pond property.

Charity begins at home and I am at peace with doing my little part.

All work is good work and there is no right/wrong polarity in what or how one chooses to give.

Blackberry's avatar

No, I have other things worry about besides saving the world.

Hibernate's avatar

@EmptyNest nice question. I wish more people would think like you.

As for me. I haven’t given a lot of my time [well I gave a lot but not as much as I could]. But I hope I can improve this and balance it.

Scooby's avatar

Yes I like to think I’m one of the good guys; who’s putting something back, even if it’s only on a small scale; it all helps… I’m working my arse off; up to seventy hours a week. I also give to the needy regularly & there’s always spare change in my pocket for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat for those sat out on the street….. My taxes & Ni contributions are greedily devoured by the system, so yes; I think I do my part, as much as a single guy can in my position :-/
How about the sally army? For you I mean; they do a Stirling job in helping the needy…….

zensky's avatar

Not really. I think my kids might.

HungryGuy's avatar

In my own small way, as an amateur erotic/horror writer, I give some people a bit of carnal pleasure.

Coloma's avatar

I made a difference today by matchmaking a couple of Preying Mantises.
Bummer for the male as the female just finished eating his head, but, good for all the little Mantises to be next spring in my garden. I can now say that I am responsible for a whole new generation of little mantises. lol

Bellatrix's avatar

:-( @Coloma. Poor little guy… he died happy I suppose.

Coloma's avatar

@Bellatrix I’m assuming so, it seems to work for them. lol

geeky_mama's avatar

I was raised with the axiom that: “to those whom much is given, much is expected”—and that because we had so much (relative) material wealth (3 square meals a day, roof over our house, warm clothes) we needed to help any and everyone we could.

This started in childhood (when I brought in every stray kid with a bad home life to my own home and shared any and every toy and bit of clothing I had)..continued in my teen years (when I was a candy striper in a local hospital and earned over 200 volunteer hours each school year and heard every sort of bad joke about the porno films featuring candy stripers)..and continued into my adulthood (when I tutored ESL while my kids were too young for school)..and continues even now with a busy career and 3+ kids and the busy life that having school-aged kids brings. My job requires frequent travel – I’m on the road nearly 50% of the time..yet I teach Sunday School, am a Girl Scout troop leader, Cub Scout assistant den leader and am the leader of a mission group that fund raises, packs & ships donated materials (bikes, medical equipment, sewing machines, fabric) for an impoverished area in Tanzania.

I get a lot of: “I don’t know how you do it” kind of comments..which frankly I don’t understand. There are a LOT of hours in a day. Maybe I have a bit less “free time” than some other folks..but I LOVE each of the ways I volunteer my time.
It’s a family affair: my kids, husband—we’re all involved..so it’s not like it’s all about me…it’s just how we spend our time (together as a family).
Maybe some families gather around the TV and watch a movie on HBO…while instead we head out to the 40’ Ocean shipping container and pack some donated clothes. It’s just…how we do things around here. My kids know nothing different..and seem to dig it, too.

They all know that we are among the most fortunate people in the world..we have a warm house, plenty of clothing and food. Because of this, they know that anything we have (extra clothes, an outgrown pair of winter boots) needs to go to someone else who can use it. Nothing should be wasted—it should be used and cared for as much as possible..then passed along to someone else who can use it if possible.
They all know that if they have a friend whose parents have lost their house, the friend is welcome to move in with us to finish out high school. It’s just…how things are around our place. Always room for one more at the dinner table, always something we can spare to give to others. And yeah, we’re on our second sponsored child in Ethiopia.
I don’t think we’re doing anything special here tho.. because I have friends who’ve adopted siblings (instantly increasing their family from 3 to 7 children) from Ethiopia. Now THAT is something amazing..taking in one of the 147 Million Orphans in Africa…now THAT is something that would help mankind.

EmptyNest's avatar

I agree with you @geeky_mama and I feel better in the World with you in it! Rock on! :-)

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