One of the most basic behaviors we learn as young children is to share. The idea of fairness, offering to give some of what we have, and even simple compromise – benefits all of us throughout life. If we are fortunate to have been diligently educated or even roughly socialized, we still grow to decipher some measure of what, how, when, where, and with whom to share.
Context plays a large role in a particularly meaningful share, one that may well satisfy both the giver and the recipient. Allow me to address three specific kinds of sharing that could define us as Americans: sharing tangible resources, sharing our ideas/opinions, and sharing one’s individual time with others.
According to the World Giving Index, an annual report by the Charities Aid Foundation, The United States has been the most generous nation in donations for the last decade. We have a lot of current challenges, but our altruistic goodwill has remained!
We monetarily support our Houses of Worship and the distribution of care they provide. We step up with funds for victims of crime and natural catastrophes. We even help our government to act to defend countries around the world against forces of evil. These federal funds aren’t directly from our personal discretionary income; monies accumulated through taxation indirectly provide the help. Empathetically, most of us are okay with sharing our collective abundance.
Americans knowingly opt to raid our personal savings to back our community’s worthwhile projects. The success of online Go-Fund-Me type campaigns speaks to our innate sense of responsibility to help various causes and grassroots ideas. It’s clear; it is an American trait to share some of what our revered capitalism helps us gain!
As affluent people (by any standard), some would argue it is only because we have the means to share that we give so much. Yet most of our citizens do this of our own free will despite socioeconomic levels. Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves that despite the lopsided distribution of wealth, there are simple tenets of decency and ethics that many Americans abide by to promote inclusivity and stronger communities by sharing the almighty dollar!
The sharing of narratives, theories, and opinions is at an all-time high in our country too. In 2022, there will be around 31.7 million bloggers in the United States. Internet Live Stats credits the COVID-19 pandemic with allowing time for half of these scribes to produce more content and attract more traffic than ever before. (Hello to all my new friends!).
Seventy-Seven percent of us read these blogs, according to WordPress. Sharing on today’s common social media platforms is commonplace for all of us because it is easier than ever. We all apparently have our two cents to add! Personally, I love to glom on to all the self-help and cool hack posts as well as Wikipedia offerings to gain shared knowledge from others.
I believe most sharing is according to the rules of “polite society.” These are not indeed rules per se, but norms that will vary within families, communities, and cultures throughout our great nation. This massive type of sharing isn’t often held to any real restraint as were/are traditional modes of conveyance such as printed or visual matter. Some sharing’s content and slant will test some of our individual boundaries.
Our open society and constitution allow all kinds of content, and I believe that overall we are stronger for the debate that differing opinions/ideas promote. We all know that some of our current societal polarization may well have started or been fed by this unfettered storm of shared words. When it comes to sharing one’s thoughts, the information age has ramped up more and varied ideologies. TMI? It’s up to all of us, individually, to decide the merit of what is being shared. What is more freely democratic (American) than that? If the demand for any type of sharing on line is there, the supply will continue to increase!
“If we want to live in a country that shows improvement, I believe we must be our brother’s keeper.”
Roughly twenty-five percent of Americans share themselves and their time helping others. Unlike other types of sharing, this number is down from the height of volunteerism in the mid-2000s (almost 29%). As calculated by Changing America, burnout and Covid-19 have likewise created 500,000 fewer teachers in the United States. Teachers are our professional sharers! What is likely the most crucial type of sharing, being truly present for others, is facing a sad decline!
As America struggles with violent events, mental health issues, and societal blight, the need for the personal touch of educating, caring and guiding is sacrosanct! We seem to be at a national crossroads. If we want to live in a country that shows improvement, I believe we must be our brother’s keeper. Plus, those who share by giving of themselves find the effort surprisingly rewarding – an unexpected return on investment of satisfaction and perspective. Perspectives that may help curb ideological extremism and help us all come together. Let’s instruct our children to share some of their lunchtime at school sitting with the class introvert.
Here is an idea, how about inviting at-risk youth to share your rural bungalow or cottage property for a wholesome recreational week to teach outdoor skills and fellowship? Yes, I am obligated to always give a nod to my sponsor but seriously, we all can do more! Many organizations like Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Teach for America forge hope for societal improvement.
We need all Americans to join in somewhere in some capacity to help share best practices. This sharing of our time to grow healthy, civic-minded individuals will propagate to limit our country’s challenges. Let’s agree to reverse this sliding trend by electing to share our time whenever possible. By getting involved with the unfortunate, the disenfranchised, and the vulnerable, Americans can have a more significant impact on beneficial change than can ever be realized by sharing money or our views. Let me be clear: keep up the sharing of donations and the proliferation of thoughts. Yet now more than ever, we must begin to raise the number of us offering the best of ourselves in person. You all witness the same news that I do, it is vital!
Thanks for allowing me to share, America!!