Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 1/29/2009 [Archive]

Martha's Big Adventure - The 2009 American Challenge

Martha's Big Adventure -- The 2009 American Challenge

By Martha Randolph Carr

There is something magical and keenly American about watching people practice what they've been preaching. Lots of places around the globe talk about what human beings or companies or even countries ought to be doing. But there are very few who will actually take on a grand scheme as a challenge with some real follow-through.

However, America has always been one of those places. We were built with that wonderfully bold idea in mind. When we started as a country the idea of handing out a vote to the common man was seen as dangerous and democracy was only an untested theory. Consider it was also a theory that required an enormous amount of ongoing faith in the better parts of our fellow beings in order to continue to succeed. And yet, we went for it anyway and we continue to do so over 200 years later.

The tests have continued to come in every generation sometimes with the sacrifice of war, sometimes with the economy and sometimes with changing the way we see each other. This may be only the third time in our history that all three have appeared at once. The first was during the Civil War, the second during World War II and now, here we are being tested again. True to form, now that the initial shock is wearing off we're getting down to business and becoming open to the unique possibilities.

The most obvious bright and shining example of America's ability to redefine itself is the recent election of President Barack Obama. At the beginning of the primaries almost all of the pundits called that one too long of a shot to consider. That same bunch, though, was also saying we had seen the worst of the economic woes. They were also still using the old tools of best cookie recipe, height and who won the Super Bowl as methods to call the election.

Now, here we are in 2009 and everything has changed so much that even our old enemies are wondering what we might do next. They're still calling us names but the zeal has gone out of their protests. It's as if we've ruined their carefully worked out plots and pushed them back to the drawing board.

Even major media outlets have been a little nonplussed over some of the new way of doing business. There was a little buzz over the president's first sit down interview because the plum was given to the foreign Al Jazeera network instead of an American outlet. Perhaps they had forgotten that the president's job has more to do with things like foreign relations than helping a network score big ratings.

President Obama was delivering on his promise to offer democracy to anyone who dropped their weapons. Now, the opportunity is on their battlefields. Not everyone is going to take us up on it but the possibility at last exists. That's where real change can take place.

Now, it's our chance to take that to a local level and live up to our potential within our own communities. A small band of people in Wilmington, Ohio has already gotten started. Recently, I offered a challenge during a presentation at the annual awards banquet for the local United Way. I said I would return to teach The 3 x 5 Game, a fun method to let go and grow into our dreams, to anyone who could raise at least $5,000 for a charity that served the local population. This is a great community that has been hit harder than most by the economic downturn. And yet, when offered the chance to pull together they jumped.

The groups that are taking on the opportunity are accomplishing two very important things. The first is helping out their community during tougher economic times. But the second, which is equally as important, is they're learning to empower themselves and start from where they are with what they have. That kind of changed attitude toward empowerment will lead to the launch of bigger projects down the road and focus them on what can be accomplished, even now.

Okay, it's your turn. The same offer is open to anyone across America who wants to start focusing on what they can do instead of what's beyond their control. Drop knowing exactly how every step will go or whether or not it will work out just as planned. All that is required is your willingness.

If you want to take up the 2009 American Challenge, email me at Martha@CagleCartoons.com and we'll get started. Come on, America, let's get started. More adventures to follow.

Martha Randolph Carr's latest book, A Place to Call Home, a memoir about the reemergence of U.S. orphanages is available wherever books are sold. If you'd like Martha to come and speak to your group visit: www.newvoicespeakers.com. Martha's Big Adventure coming soon to World Talk Radio and Voice America. Email Martha at: Martha@caglecartoons.com or visit www.martharandolphcarr.com.

© 2009 Martha Randolph Carr. Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info call Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Sales@cagle.com.

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