We are hurting. The passing of Robin Williams. The events in Ferguson, the impact of ISIS, the events in Africa, Syria and Iraq. This is a time of complex sadness. None of these things are easy to watch or are easily explained.
When I was a little girl, my parents both worked outside the home. Both my mother and father worked in education, and because of that, I started reading anything I could get my hands on at a very young age. As a latchkey kid, I discovered television early on as well. While my parents provided hundreds of books to me, I was attracted to television too! I loved (and still do) all kinds of television. Name an 80’s sitcom or movie, and I’ve probably seen it. Mork and Mindy, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Square Pegs, the Original Degrassi Junior High, Reading Rainbow, Today’s Special, 321 Contact, The Electric Company, and Designing Women were my “must see TV” programs. These shows made an alien, some really awkward and lovable teenagers in New York and Canada, a talking mannequin, Julia and Susanne Sugarbaker, Levar Burton, The Bloodhound Gang, and Mr. Rogers my friends.
Lately, I really miss Mr. Rogers. I often wonder what he would say in the midst of all of this chaos and sadness. Fred Rogers was a sensitive communicator to children, and his program was so simple and consistent, it resonated with the deepest part of a child’s need for calm, safe, kind adults to lead and guide them. There have been studies that indicate his voice can slow a heartbeat, calm a crying baby, and increase learning retention. Just his voice. What a lovely legacy.
Mr. Rogers spoke simply and softly. He used very few words and was committed to slow and steady teaching. He knew that the world was hard, but that core values and consistent commitment to good would be a powerful support system for children.
He was right, of course.
When Mr. Rogers was asked how parents might navigate or discuss the scary events that populate the evening news, topics that scare and upset us all, like injustice, famine, war, crimes against humanity, or the death of a friend, his response was so moving.
“My mother used to tell me, whenever there would be any catastrophe, always look for the helpers. There will always be helpers, even on the sidelines…….because if you look for the helpers, you’ll know there is hope.”
When I think about Delta Gamma, the core of who we are, I see hundreds of thousands of helpers. We’re the helpers! I’m so incredibly proud that since 1873, we have rallied to “Do Good” for those who need our help. Our motto is the simplest explanation of our mission. It is the soft call for action. It is the focus on solutions and service that moves me so, and reminds me that no matter the age of our members, our core identity is good. We “Do Good.” Where we are needed, Delta Gamma is there.
On September 14 – 20, “Do Good” Week will begin for every member of Delta Gamma. I invite you to look at the participation guide and prepare to do simple acts of kindness where you live. It doesn’t take much good to change the atmosphere. And wow, do we need it. We need you to reconnect with the core purpose of Delta Gamma, and find little ways to “Do Good” wherever you are.
There is one small truth that sustains me when the world gets loud and sad. For 140 years, our women have helped create good for the world.
We have helped others to see.
We have created pathways to dignity for people in need.
We have lent a helping hand.
We’ve supported communities working to heal and rebuild.
We have provided support for women who are seeking education.
We have stepped up to have hard conversations and create solutions.
Our lectureships on have created safe spaces for learning about triumph of the human spirit, values-based and ethical leadership, commonality as opposed to difference.
We have a key focus on courage and strength.
We are do-ers. Not just dreamers, Delta Gamma women spring hope into action with our commitment to “Do Good.”
I believe Mr. Rogers would be so proud of our simple commitments and powerful impact. Please join us next week as we work to create hope and “Do Good.” As the world “looks for the helpers”, I hope they meet you.
We would love to hear about your experiences during “Do Good” Week! Please email your stories to Elizabeth at Executive Offices. She can be reached at Elizabeth@deltagamma.org.