the TAO of CHANGE

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Renew, Reflect, Re-ACT – Day[s] of Service

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

When I was a kid, national “holidays” that fell during the week, like today, were a welcomed day off school. I remember that stores had special sales and some adults were thrilled to stay out of work but beyond that, I don’t remember being given much opportunity to reflect on just what it really all meant.

As I grew up – figuratively and literally, it seemed to me that something should be happening – something beyond a sale or a parade – something that created a bond to history, past events and people whom I really knew little about. Instead of “vacating” our jobs and studies, shouldn’t we be taking the opportunity to learn and do something outside the ordinary?

Perhaps today, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, one day before the inauguraton of President-Elect Obama, will begin a just such a trend. Obama has urged us to recognize this day not just to contemplate history, but as as a call to service – a chance to spend a day in service to your community and beyond – to take action towards change. Now we’re talking!

Obama issued a statement declaring, “King’s was a life lived in loving service to others. As we honor that legacy, it’s not a day just to pause and reflect — it’s a day to act.”

“If we’re waiting for somebody else to do something, it never gets done. We’re going to have to take responsibility, all of us. This is not just a one-day affair.”

Visit USAService.org to join or host a service event, or simply to share ideas and stories about the many ways we can participate in service individually or with a group. USAService.org says we can “Renew America Together”. I say we can renew our hearts, minds and lives at the same time.

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