Year’s End: Seeing Through a Different Lens

Tonkossare, Niger. "Family Wisdom"

The final week of December is a time of paradox.  As a student, it is my break time, a time to read books not related to school (I’m resisting the temptation to crack open texts for the new quarter).  This is a week to curl up with a hot beverage and enjoy the solitude of long dark wintry nights, remembering to be thankful for the shelter above your head if you have one.  It is a time for thinking about those with no shelter from the storm and ask yourself, how can I be a contribution for a more equitable society?  In philanthropy, it is a time to wrap up a year of donations with a final push (I counted 6 charitable giving emails in my inbox just today).  Time to finish the year strong, prepare new resolutions, break down 2011 calendars and replace with 2012.  It is a time for family and a time for reaching out to the community.  Year end is prime time for relaxation but not laziness; there’s still much work to do.

A new year is defined by both the continuation of traditions and the commencement of new practices.  This coming January 13th will mark six years since I arrived in Niger for the first time, and nine short months from that point I will have been back on American soil as long as I had been away.  We’re all changing, slowly, sometimes imperceptibly, seeing the world slightly differently each season.

How can we alter our lens to see something ordinary in an extraordinary light?  How can we look to our elders and our youth for the next big solution?  Good Magazine, in its 30 Days of Good column on microphilanthropy this month offers the wisdom of children, creative solutions from creative young minds on a shoestring budget.

This form of philanthropy is not about the size of the account or the number of zeros on the check; it’s about community and engaging our youth to be the artists of future ideas.

Happy New Year, fellow citizens of the world.


About MikeG

I am an affordable housing developer and consultant. I build bridges to create compassionate, diverse communities. When we resolve conflicts, we strengthen our understanding of best practices toward collective well-being. I combine the value of inclusion with strategic planning, research skills that develop links from the seemingly unlinkable, and a passion for our interconnected lives to draft plans that succeed (photo by
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