Do you ever ponder this? It may lead to a decision changing the course and outcome of your life. A similar question was posed to me about 20 years ago and led to the creation of my personal mission statement. To this day, I carry around in my wallet the original scrape of blue paper where I first wrote it out. Sometimes, when I rediscover it, I am amazed at how my life journey aligns with it.
We truly live in the best of times or the worst of times (depending on what you choose to focus on.) Rural communities witness this annually. As spring gets ready to unfold, the sheer determination of nature is evident. We watch it return to fulfilling its destiny to grow, to spread out, to travel and to leave a legacy. It does this successfully and fairly consistently globally year after year.
A True Canadian Alberta Legacy
“There is no resignation in Nature, no quiet folding of the hands, no hypocritical saying, “Thy will be done!” and giving in without a struggle. Countless millions of seeds and plants are doomed each year to death and failure, but all honour to them – they put up a fight to the very end! Resignation is a cheap and indolent human virtue, which has served as an excuse for much spiritual slothfulness. It is still highly revered and commended. It is so much easier sometimes to sit down and be resigned than to rise up and be indignant.” Nellie McClung – In Times Like These – 1915
Nellie McClung was a Canadian suffragette (feminist), politician, author, and social activist. She was a part of the social and moral reform movements prevalent in Western Canada in the early 1900s. Being part of Alberta’s Famous Five, who campaigned for women to be recognized as persons, her legacy is evident. Suffragists didn’t focus only on the right of women to vote. They also campaigned for improved public health, equality in employment and education, social assistance and condemned violence. Much of the social reform existing today is due to the efforts of women actively engaging in public education and agitation being the change they wanted to see.
One Hundred Plus Years Later
A bit closer to home, in 1912 a small group of women, who I believe were tuned in and aware of the social and political climate they were living in, gathered together and formed the Carseland Public Benefit Club. Today they are the longest serving independent public service organization in Alberta. Their original Minute Books and other items are preserved at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. More important is the living legacy they inspired continuing in their community through the vision and efforts of 21st century women. Club members retain a strong belief in their power and ability to make a difference. It is a significant in the lives they touch through their fundraising and personal engagement.
Their major initiatives in 2016 included a donation to National Service Dogs, an organization whose mission is to “empower people to achieve their full potential with strategically trained and certified service dogs, catalysts for restorative change.” Another donation went to Inn from the Cold to provide for homeless veterans. They care and are reaching out to this group of veterans once again showing they are not forgotten and people care. Other funds were sent through the Red Cross to the victims of the Fort McMurray Fire, to STARS Air Ambulance, to the Veterans Food Drive and to Hope Bridges Society. They recently kicked off 2017 with a $5000 donation to the Wheatland and Area Hospice Society. The vision and mission is still alive and vital 105 years later.
Mission Defines Direction
Every effort, no matter how small or large, makes a difference to someone. On March 8th International Women’s Day is celebrated globally. One hundred and three years later the call remains the same as that of the early suffragettes – Be Bold for Change and Equality Matters.
Together, women and men, we are the human race. I believe this brings with it a responsibility to help humanity be all it can be. It starts with each of us doing our part. It requires each of us to take action for mutual success.
That little blue piece of paper and my personal Mission Statement “Impact the world I touch through belief in myself and others, motivating and encouraging all to become all we can be.” Twenty years later it continues to shape the choices I make and the actions I take towards how I want to be remembered.
Originally published in The Newsy Neighbour – March 2017 (P 70)