The Ten Most Underrated Responsibilities

Posted on August 20, 2014


the neighborhood

If you take responsibility for yourself
you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams.
– Les Brown, {from Brainy Quotes}

the ten underrated responsibilities

the Blessing Tree, received from Angel Ambrose

In general terms, they may not appear on Time Magazine’s’ Most Influential list, but they have sent  a representative, at some time or another. As a group, there is no single voice that sings louder, its the collective song that is heard. In their roles, they are honored, but they also take the brunt of the storm. In the mirror, it is their hopes and dreams they see, but in their eyes,  it is the hopes and dreams of  many, we see. A burden each carries, that stretches beyond their reach, tis true. And while some may fall or break or crack or spin out of control, you know, collectively they possess the will and the fortitude to carry on, even when there is no one watching, believe.

The Ten Most Underrated Responsibilities

10. Volunteers

There is hardly an entity,  that does not maintain  a wealth of volunteers. Hospitals, universities, government, each relies on an unpaid staff to deliver the little things, the nuances, that make each operate a bit more efficiently, with glee. In the nonprofit world, often times, volunteers are the engine, that moves and shakes the ground. When the housing bubble burst and the economy collapsed, many government services were upended and in some cases, wiped out. But volunteer organizations like The Sacramento Friends of the Public Library helped to fill the gaps – through advocacy, fundraising and by providing critical support to the city wide library system – assisting in keeping our knowledge and historical centers going strong. Volunteers are often at the forefront of social movements, and among the first responders during natural disasters. And volunteers often contribute, not for any recognition, but because they are passionate about supporting something, that means something to them.

9. Librarians/Historians

In October of 1995, I had the great fortune to attend the Million Man March. I do not remember many of the speakers from that day, although, Maya Angelou’s appearance on the steps of my nation’s capitol was certainly memorable, but I do remember the atmosphere quite vividly, the festive spirit, the love of one another that resonated and glided through the air. To be in Washington DC on that warm autumn day, with a million other men and women from all over the country and I believe, some parts of the world, standing shoulder to shoulder for hours, in a solidarity of peace, love and respect of each other and ourselves is what truly defined that day. Controversy found a way to rear its deceptive head, by way of the number of people who stood on Capitol Mall that day. A co-worker asked, with nothing but sincerity, “The event was a success, why does it matter how many people were there?” My response was simply, “Because history matters.”

8.  The Undecideds 

Have you ever cast your ballot for a candidate, that you have never heard speak and have no idea  if he or she represents the best interests for you and your family and your community? Have you ever stood firmly on an issue, even when you do not have a horse in the race? Have you ever said “I don’t believe that,” even before you have heard the other person speak? Each of us, ultimately, must live and die for ourselves, but in the meantime, we share the earth. The undecideds may or may not belong to a political party or a specific religion, they may hold a PhD or a GED, be male or female and consists of every color and nationality, making  the demographic difficult to measure. But what they are is understanding , curious, patient, and hopeful, that if their mind is open, receptive to knowledge, when they cast their ballot, or stake their claim or choose their hill, it is done so with care and with the intent of forward progress and what is best for their community.

7. The Arts – performing, recording, visual & written-word

There is beauty in the arts, that much we all know. But there exist something more indescribable, perhaps magical is the word I search for. The Arts, in their purest form are transcending, immune to polarization, blinded to hate.  Born of imagination, a thought, a sound, a vision from the creative right side of the brain, The Arts are conceptualized with the whole world in mind, even if in reality most have limited reach.  Many have seen Avatar, quite a few consider the Philadelphia Museum of Art  a national treasure, and nearly all have heard of Shakespeare.  I am certain – using the Olympiad as a guide – most nations rise when playing their national anthem, and in the United States, when the familiar music plays, and as everyone in earshot hums along in anticipation of  the big finish O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave, in those precious few moments, we are all mentally in the same place.

6. Farmers

There is a complexity to farming on a large scale, that flows well beyond the planting of a seed.  There are regulations that must be followed, distribution channels to choreograph, and changes of taste of the people they feed. But even when everything goes right, mother nature can send a deep freeze to Florida, destroying all of the crops, devastating their livelihoods. But farming runs in the blood and beyond the business are people who take pride in knowing,  they are producing a product, that serves a vital purpose.

Follow your passion– and if you don’t know what it is,
realize your existence on earth is to find it.

Fatherhood 10 underrated responsibilities

Fatherhood by John Baker III provided by Gotta Have It Artworks

5. Peacekeepers – community leaders, law enforcement

Sure, there are opportunist and those who ignore their oath. Yes, there are leaders who have fallen short, and power has overtaken those we entrust to protect and serve, some by design others overwhelmed, unprepared for their chosen path. And if the crack or the seismic fault is coming from the top, there can be a rolling effect on all that follow or are under their command. But most are good people, who truly want to be a trusted, respected and an honorable member of their community within their chosen profession.

4. Spiritual Counselors – clergy (Religious leaders)

Pastor Dave is how the congregation referred to the leader of the church I attended several years ago. For whatever reason, it was  a challenge for me to go, even though the Sundays I did attend, provided strength, nourishment and the sincere awareness, that we were not in our struggle alone; and that the church was a place to not only worship, but to feel at peace, energized, and if we could find it nowhere else, Pastor Dave created an environment, of  togetherness of community, of building a stronger relationship with Our Lord. He stood firm in his beliefs and of the Book he followed, but he made sure his congregation knew, all were welcome, and that he was  just  a man, doing his best to lead by example.

3. Teachers 

In my four years of high school, I cannot remember a single teacher leaving. In contrast,  in every job I have ever had, no more than a year would pass without someone moving on to another, similar company or changing careers altogether.  Every teacher that I have known and, for whatever reason, reached back or inquired about them, while they may have completed their career on another campus, teaching was still their chosen profession. Their commitment, in many cases, went beyond the requirements set forth by the Department of Education. At some point, and this is my guess, each has an epiphany, that  teaching is more than a profession. It is an identity or a calling, and many who answer it, come to comprehend, that the young people in their reach is our future, and the awareness must sink in, their contribution to the circle of life, is much greater than ever imagined.

2. The Village – family & friends

I was 30 when my Grandmother passed away, even though it has been seventeen years, I remember her very well. She was a wonderful woman with a quiet demeanor, but held a large family together {my Grandfather died before I was born}, simply by her presence. Her legacy passed down into her children, and they in turned passed down the family bond to each of us. My 30 year high school reunion is on the approach, my classmates are working very hard in reaching out and putting it all together. The same classmates, that were of the first readers to purchase Capturing Spring, my first book, published way back in 1997. The same classmates, whose early support of thepublicblogger, gave me the motivation to do more.  I have summered with my fathers family in Tennessee and have direct lines with friends of which, attended the same university.  Today, I am grateful that many of the neighbors in The Neighborhood, are a part of The Village too.  In our worlds that matter most,  is where we find the  inspiration and the motivation, that all alone, may have alluded us for good.

1. Our Passion

Following our passion sounds bigger than it is. Our sincere passions – our positive contributions – are not bound by record books or compared to anyone else. It is what we have to give. It is what makes us happy or whole or comfortable in saying, this is my legacy. This is my contribution to humanity. Being a loving, supportive parent. Finding the cure for lupus. Making sure the children in our community have  school supplies. Building a clinic. Volunteering to visit the elderly. Bringing a championship ring to our city. The meaning of life is an accumulative endeavor. Each piece builds, supports and enriches the earth. Discovering our passion may not take long, we may have already found it, but our eyes are still closed.

– Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger

Posted in: academia, editorial