Nothing irks me more than people who criticize and complain on social media or with their friends yet do nothing to change a situation. Sure it’s easy to grumble and moan, but if you truly care about a cause, find a way to have your voice heard to make a difference.
In my work as an advocate (which is fuelled by my most important role as a mom), I don’t shy away from adding my voice to make a change. While sometimes this involves speaking to a provincial government standing committee (as I did this week), it doesn’t need to be so involved or overwhelming.
There are so many ways to have your voice heard.
Participate in meaningful conversations on social media (where you are sharing experiences or looking to help others not complaining).
Answer surveys from organizations or government departments related to the cause that motivates you.
Attend a meeting or educational session being held by an organization you support.
What’s important is you move from complaining to being a part of the solution. You will quickly find what you are complaining about is a bit more complex, with many opinions and facts to consider.
Enter the conversation with an open mind and be prepared to be educated, hearing other points of view. In a recent advocacy workshop I held, one of the participants was pretty angry. She thought her child was being targeted by the school and she was the only parent being asked to pick up their child when there was an outburst.
As she told her story, many of the other parents of kids with autism shared how they had also been asked to pick up their child after an outburst. The mom was shocked and relieved to find she wasn’t alone. By sharing her story, and listening to others, she heard how other parents had dealt with similar situations. These same parents gave her the tools to advocate for her child while still keeping her child, and other students, safe.
Know your limits
While it’s important to have your voice heard, you also need to know when to step back. There are times when life is too busy. When I’m stretched in 10 directions or my kids need me to be a mom, give myself permission to take a break. And that’s okay.
For me, it may mean not giving a presentation or writing a blog post, but maybe filling out a survey on a topic where I want my voice heard. At times it also means doing nothing at all and letting others speak.
Find your voice
At the end of the day it’s about finding a way to have your voice heard in a way that contributes to the conversation, not ranting and complaining. Figure out what works for you, your personality and your time.
The next time you feel a good rant coming on, take a deep breath and think about how you give your thoughts in a positive way. We all have a role to play in improving the level of dialogue (you know what I’m talking about) and supporting causes we care about.