I should know this. I wrote the definition. I train and speak on this topic every week.
Yet I was powerfully reminded of the true meaning of Social Responsibility earlier today quite by accident by my friend and colleague, Beth Ratchford.
Social Responsibility, within the structure of the EQ-i, is the ability or tendency you have to connect to and serve a greater social system—a team, a family, a community, the world—putting the needs of the whole or the group before your own. Social Responsibility is thinking and acting with a social consciousness.
My son’s 13th birthday is today. He wants the new Major League Baseball video game as a present. That is reasonable enough, but I had—months ago—tied his getting the new video game to pulling up his math grade. He has had little success in this direction, and his grade still hovers around a C. So I’m torn about whether to stand firm on the good grade prerequisite or to de-couple video game and grades and give my new teenager the birthday present he most wants. As I knocked these ideas around in my head, considering it a problem, I got a message from Beth.
Beth is a counselor specializing in childhood trauma, and she has volunteered to go to war-torn Sierra Leone to counsel people in crisis. Through Beth I learned that 1 in 5 children in Sierra Leone will not live to see his 5th birthday and that half of the kids in Sierra Leone work rather than go to school.
I worry about my kid’s video game and algebra grades. In Sierra Leone, they worry about food to eat, kidnapping, slavery trafficking, rape, disease and the traumas of war.
These people have actual problems; I do not.
Putting her personal life and counseling practice on hold, Beth has decided to serve as a volunteer in Sierra Leone this summer through Helping Children Worldwide, a faith-based organization serving over 350 people.
I may understand the idea of Social Responsibility, but today reminded me that “real life” actions are so much more meaningful than good intentions. Beth is delivering Social Responsibility with real impact.
Thank you, Beth, for your work in Sierra Leone and for reminding me how important it is to come out of my head and enter into the needs of others. That is what Social Responsibility is really about.
PS–Beth’s volunteer trip to Sierra Leone is self-funded. She is currently raising the $3000 needed to make the trip. If you can contribute to Beth’s good work, your effort will make a great difference. Please click here to learn more about Beth’s work or to make a donation.