Learning to look

By Ruth Limkin

I retweeted. My friends retweeted. People around the world retweeted, and in the process, we helped Alice Pyne get closer to achieving something on her bucket list.

Some background, as reported by the Courier Mail, is that  Alice Pyne, 15, from Ulverston, Cumbria, posted a list of things she would like to do before she died – which included swimming with sharks – on her blog after finding her Hodgkin’s lymphoma had worsened.

Within hours, her first post on alicepyne.blogspot.com, became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter and offers of help poured in. Generous supporters from around the world – including America, Canada, Australia – offered Alice photo-shoots, hair appointments and caravan trips.”

I love this. The global community is rallying to help a dying girl in England.

With the changing nature of media, we rarely have to go looking for the news – now the news finds us. (Think how many breaking stories you have heard about via Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and other social media networks.)

This way of getting our news has any advantages for the time poor, but it has one very big disadvantage.

It could mean that we stop looking altogether.

We are surrounded by need – by real people in walking or driving distance – who need someone to help them but who may not be able to get the attention of social media networks. If we forget how to look, to really look at the community around us, we’ll help Alice trend on twitter, but someone may go hungry in the next suburb.

I hope we don’t become content with retweeting to help a girl half a world away, and forget to reach out a hand to someone near us.

Find a local charity, and volunteer for a day or a week. Give $5 or $5000. Go to a supermarket and pre-pay some of the bill of the person behind you in the supermarket line. Sit in a cafe, or at a bus stop and look at those who are around you. Work out who may need a hand, and slip them $20. Help someone carry their groceries to their car. Visit an elderly neighbour.

We can’t do everything, but we can do something, and all of us can do more than just retweet.

So retweet away, but let’s make a difference to someone near us today. Small acts of generosity ripple through communities, person by person, and transform the very culture in which we live.




One thought on “Learning to look

  1. Love your thoughts here. It’s so true that in our globalised, tech-savvy world, connections become convenient and we can forget how to really engage with those around us. ‘We can’t do everything but we can do something’ – My life message.. So glad to hear someone else saying it, too! 🙂

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