Eyes Wide Open
There are moments in people's lives when there eyes are forced open to the wider world around them. These moments can take place after looking at a photograph, reading a story, watching a video. . .whatever. When these moments occur our ability to empathize increases.
Now, the opportunity for these moments to occur seem to be increasing, given the widespread use of social media - we are seemingly infinitely connected. We are able see and hear more inspiring, horrible, incredible, amazing, depressing things than ever before. At the same time, when confronted with all of these things we still do not know what to do.
The reactions to these moments vary, and they are all valid responses. Some try to dig into the underlying forces behind the situation; others want to act but do not know what to do; and some attempt to cast blame on leaders of one sort or another. Others who have been aware of the situation for a long time may get frustrated with the late response, or they may welcome the new light on the subject. And some people simply get overwhelmed with emotion.
All this to say that people will typically fall into two categories: those who want to shed light and those who want to generate heat on a subject - raise the awareness or raise the emotion. Both are valid.
There is a third, and they are those people who want to utilize their emotion and awareness in order to do something. These people need to be embraced quickly, because the inclination to close one's eyes is powerful - regular life can overwhelm and overtake them before they can get engaged.
For those organizations working at improving the world, we need to do a better job at engaging these people. People want to help, they need to be shown how to help. They need to be shown how they actually make a difference. If we cannot find ways for people to help us and join our missions, we have failed.
For people who say they want to help please do help when given the opportunity, do not close your eyes - keep learning. Whether you are positively inspired to do something, or are angry with a situation, both are equally powerful and useful as motivators. The needs are growing, the world needs to become a better place.