“I’m a rocker, dude, through and through. Here’s my favorite bands; AC/DC, Van Halen (not Van Hagar), Skynyrd, Def Lep.”
I’m pretty sure I should have been a rock star in another life. So it’s no surprise that one of my favorite lyrics from that era is from a Tesla song, “It’s not what ya got, it’s what ya give.” Every time I hear that song, it reminds me of how much more I have to give.
In my previous assignment with U.S. Africa Command, I had several opportunities to travel throughout East Africa and observe places subject to extreme poverty. Neighborhoods were littered with trash, kids played in the streets with deflated soccer balls, and old cars lined the streets.
I realized quickly how blessed I am to live in the United States of America. I enjoy a quality of life that so many in this world will never know. So what? Lucky me?
Well, that just didn’t sit well with me. Even though I knew I couldn’t solve world hunger, I had to figure out how to be a part of the solution. So I started a charity account with a small monthly allotment. It’s not much, and I don’t send it all to Africa. But it’s there when someone needs a little charity, and it’s an opportunity for me to get involved and try to make things a little better.
With the Combined Federal Campaign ongoing, there are so many ways to give a little of our good fortune to those in need. Just something to think about …
And giving is certainly not restricted to your hard-earned pay check. The current economy has many of us accounting for every penny, and that’s OK because we all have something worth more than money — our time. And it is precious. None of us work just a 40-hour week anymore, so the thought of giving up any more of our free time sounds like a pretty big sacrifice. Well, it is. But the return is always worth the investment.
Most of us are aware of the many volunteer opportunities available — soup kitchens, donation stations, hospitals and assisted living facilities — the list is lengthy. What about the people we work with every day? They may not need our money or charity, but we all need someone to lend an ear from time to time. Think about it the next time you are sprinting for the door at the end of the day and one of your coworkers is trying to tell you about the rough day she had. It might be the most valuable five minutes you ever give.
I would be so remiss if I didn’t also mention how important it is to give to our families. They support us during long days and long deployments, and they are essential enablers in helping us accomplish the mission every day. All they need is some love and attention at the end of the day so they know how much we appreciate their service. Even though you might be exhausted at the end of the day and feel like you have nothing left to give, a simple smile, hug, kiss or kind word will earn you more than you will ever know. Because when it’s all said and done, in the final analysis, it’s not about what you’ve got, it’s what you give.