Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does.”
I’ve always liked that statement and believe it’s true. So, this week, I’m asking you, our callers, to join together as a small group of committed people to help handle a big problem facing this country — loneliness.
Last week, on May 2, 2023, the U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, declared loneliness a public health epidemic in America. She said the health risks are as deadly as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day and can raise the risk of premature death by 30 percent. And, a three-plus-year pandemic hasn’t helped the situation.
Dr. Murthy is encouraging families, workplaces, and schools to work to improve social interaction. She is also calling for more federal funding to fight loneliness and isolation. However, as slow as the wheels of bureaucracy move, I’m asking you to get involved by choosing one loneliness buster and applying it to as many people’s lives as possible to keep this epidemic at bay.
Here are some ideas for you:
· Practice acts of “I’m thinking of you.” Think of people you have been out of touch with for some time. Pick up the phone and call them, or jot them a note to let them know you’re interested in and care about them.
· Give others one of the unique gifts that God gave you to serve others—baking, listening, organizational skills, hospitality—the list is endless. Take your own inventory and share your warehouse of goods with others.
· Stop following the advice, Don’t talk to strangers. Drop that ill-placed childhood habit and start talking to everyone. When you’re out walking, greet those you pass. After all, we all share this planet. If you’re stuck in a long line, start a conversation with the person in front of you. You just might make a five-minute friend.
· Engage someone in an activity—playing cards, walking, starting a book club.
· And, finally, pray. We can’t control where our prayers will land, but we can certainly launch our intentions toward God, who will take care of the rest.