By Cindy Allen
Catastrophic. Cataclysmic. Devastating.
All three terms can describe what has been the tumultuous year of 2020. First the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdowns and hardships. Then social unrest and a lengthy, embattling presidential election that has sown division in our communities. And, to top it all off, a bizarre fall ice storm here in OKC that left thousands without power for a long period of time.
It’s not too difficult to get mired down in the negativity of these events. Yet, there is something here in Oklahoma City that we call the Oklahoma Standard, in which we here in Oklahoma seek to brand ourselves as a people who can rise above and beyond. Some call it “bouncing back.” What it really is, though, is resilience. Resilience helps us bounce forward!
It’s not only during these times of uncertainly but also during our overall history, Rotary and Rotarians are leading bridge builders and resilience builders to help our communities bounce back from the challenges that are placed on us.
Let’s look at some of the main characteristics of resiliency and how Rotarians meet these characteristics:
- Empathy. As Rotarians who do community service around the world, we make ourselves available to understand the position of others, especially those in difficulty. We know that sympathy is often not enough to help. We believe that what we are doing for our community is merely returning a small part of what we have already received from it
- Motivated. Rotarians seek out ways to build our communities. We look for opportunities to make a difference. Examples in our own club are the COVID-19 relief efforts and also the One Pledge campaign. Our COVID relief efforts are ensuring seniors receive Meals on Wheels and families in need are getting food on their table. And One Pledge provides a yearly opportunity to help our local nonprofits do their amazing work.
- Support Network. Not only does Rotary provide support to several community organizations, we also support each other. Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves.
- Accept Change. Boy, have we had to take this one to heart, particularly in 2020! However, we’ve accepted a number of important changes, beginning with women entering Rotary in 1987! Change is necessary in order to make progress, grow and be relevant.
- Choose Your Attitude. We all know we are in charge of our own attitudes. In Rotary, we are able to think positively and imagine positive outcomes for challenges that arise in our own personal lives, our businesses and our communities. This mindset helps make the problems in front of us manageable.
- Optimism and humor. In Rotary, we know that laughter and humor are great ways to connect to others and to release feelings of anxiety or stress. And, we also know that we have to be optimistic and hopeful that any problems we face can be solved. That’s what Rotary is all about – bringing hope, optimism and action to our communities.
Yes, we can and will bounce forward from 2020 and all the challenges it has brought us because we, as Rotarians, know that we are driving force of optimism and opportunity in our personal lives, our businesses and our community.
Be well and safe!