I recently asked friends on Facebook how they would like to make the world a better place. More specifically, I asked about a single change that would make a big difference. I’ve been trying to think about one action/change that would make a significant positive improvement in the lives of individuals and wider society.
What do you think? What one change would have the greatest benefit? An attitude change? Something about mental or physical health? Some form of social action? A religious or faith-oriented change? Something political?
My current thought is that if us parents turned off our TVs in order to read with our kids, that could have a substantial positive impact for people of every faith, political party, and socioeconomic level. I could also see “…in order to play games with our kids,” but for now I’m going with “reading.” I don’t have any data to back this up, so it’s just a theory that it would make a difference in multiple ways.
So what do you think? If you could make one change in society to have maximum ripple effects of goodness, what would it be? What reasoning or data backs your theory?
Here are the responses people shared:
Mike: “I would add smart phone browsing with that. What started out as communicating on platforms such as Facebook, has often turned into a non productive waste of time!”
Loralee: “In talking with my students, what would make the biggest difference for them is understanding why a rule is in place. Also, just plain and simple time for discussion where they can hear other viewpoints.”
Jeff: “Intentionally serving together as a family.”
Mary: “Yes, reading to our kids. If not reading, playing and spending our time with them making memories and bonding our relationship with them. Trips, cooking and baking together…etc.”
Kristina: “More volunteerism. Now that I’m not inside Adventism anymore, I have come to realize how few people are brought up to volunteer as a regular part of their life. I wish it was something more parents taught their kids.”
Andrew: “This is a huge question and really has me thinking. I agree with Kristina in that volunteerism is a big thing that is lacking, and something anyone can do to better the lives of others. It has to be done in a smart way though. I know, at least when I was a child and in the church, the big thing was going on mission trips to build a church. But I’ve read that doing that has no significant value to the community you do it at, and actually can make things worse economically. So intelligent volunteerism is a huge individual change we can be doing. On a bigger scale, a huge political improvement, in my opinion, is more socialist programs, especially in terms of health care and education. If we can, as a nation, improve those two things, we would be so much further ahead than we are currently.”
John: “I like all of them, but will go another direction. Parents need to teach their kids to accept and even love those that don’t look just like them, that go to a different church or religious affiliation (or none), that come from a different country. But who will teach the parents?”
Michelle: “I totally agree with you, Jeff, on reading. I was doing a best practices presentation recently on reading strategies, and in preparing my introduction, I came across this fact sheet – 11 Facts about Literacy in America. I knew some of the facts on here, but did not know all of them. What has struck me the most in my time teaching in corrections is the difference early literacy makes. Reading to children is the major determining factor in raising ACT/SAT scores. Reading to children and helping them develop early literacy skills prepares them to learn to read in school. Learning to read in school leads to the ability to read to learn. That’s why on the fact sheet 3rd/4th grade are so important–that’s where the switch happens. Being behind grade level reading in 3rd/4th grade is a huge factor leading to incarceration. This is why I volunteer one day a week to read with kids in the homeless shelter. I want so desperately for these kids NOT to end up in my classroom, reading below a 4th grade reading level.”
Karl: “My suggestion is quite simple. I wish Christians in general and SDAs in particular would teach the literal meaning of the Sermon on the Mount (or sea) over a period of months from all the pulpits AND stop rationalizing away what the itinerant carpenter from Nazareth actually said.”
Rebecca: “Other-centeredness instead of self-centeredness.”
What about you? What fundamental change would you most like to see?