In October, I found an essay on Dragon’s computer that I had never seen before. Titled, “Community Service Project”, it’s an essay that I believe Dragon wrote for his Tae Kwon Do master at school, where Dragon was working towards his third degree black belt. In it, Dragon talks about how in junior high, he volunteered to help teach elementary school students brass instruments and how this experience gave him an idea about how to give back: “Leading these students in my art – music — was such an amazing experience because I was able to give back to the community, but also, I gave them something that was more unique to me. Anyone can go pick up trash at the beach for a couple of hours, but I knew I wanted to do something more for the community that not everyone can do. I tried brainstorming ideas for what I could do, but all of the ideas I came up with, could be easily done without any skill. I compiled my skills and looked them over. I realized that I could be a music teacher. I used to tutor my peers in math, and I loved my music, so a music teacher became the ideal community service position for me.”
Maybe you can see why it’s so important to me to help make this vision of Dragon’s come true – to help young kids learn music. Dragon had spent some time thinking about how he could contribute to the world in a way that was unique to him. The least I can do now is to help make that dream come true and honor one of the things he wanted to give to the world.
Calling it a “philosophy of giving” is too much, but certainly, Dragon was starting to articulate his thinking about how one gives back. I think he’s onto something. We should all spend a little time today and tomorrow, on this “Giving Tuesday”, to think about where we can make a difference. If you’re an accountant, is there a non-profit organization or PTO that can use your help? If you’re great at organizing birthday parties, is there a group that could benefit from your event planning skills? If you’re handy with tools, how about Habitat for Humanity? You are gifted in ways unique to you. Each of us has things that we are good at, and things that we love to do. Let’s inspire each other to find ways, today and throughout the year, to uniquely give back.