June is Rotary fellowship month. When I looked online to see what that means to Rotarians, I was unsure. I saw lots of ideas about existing fellowships which appear to be groups that have been formed so that Rotarians with similar hobbies can meet and pursue interest areas they are passionate about.
I saw things like canoeing, birdwatching, motorcycling, and music. There were career interests like policemen, lawyers, doctors, and editors. They even mentioned peace fellowships. The Rotary year ends in June, and our club celebrated with an end of the year party. This event at Dominick’s in Lawrenceville will be my definition of fellowship since we were able to celebrate the achievements of some of our fellow Rotarians and visit in a casual setting. Congratulations to Beatty McCaleb who won Rotarian of the year for his leadership and willingness to take up the slack when needed. As our current President, Richard Steele, steps down and our upcoming President, Craig Roberts, begins his term, the focus will be on engaging all members of the club.
A year ago, our Rotary International Board of Directors adopted a new vision statement that says “Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.” Even if I were not a Rotarian, I would want to be part of this vision. More than ever we need people willing to lead us toward positive change where we can make a difference, be part of building a better world and help our neighbors see how strong we are when we work together. Barry Rassin, our new President for Rotary International, is asking us to “be the inspiration” as we move forward to remove barriers that hold us back. He doesn’t micromanage by telling us how we must do things. He gives us the autonomy to figure out what works in our communities and asks us to be part of it.
Living in one of the most diverse counties in our country makes me aware of how differently we hear the same information. So many of our media sources use strife and contention to generate interest. That constant barrage of negative misinformation is not only depressing, but it also makes me feel powerless, hopeless and angry. It is not healthy to live in that environment. When I hear words of hope and inspiration and am told that I can play a part in the solution so that we all benefit, I am energized and ready to tackle whatever challenge is thrown at me. I am pretty sure I am not unique. Every one of us has the power to choose to do one positive thing each day, and before long everyone is feeling more positive. If you are hearing negativity constantly, think about the source of your news and make a conscious decision to stop being part of it. I have learned to be vigilant about what I allow to go into my mind whether it is negative news or the effects of energy vampires, I look for encouraging people who inspire me and give me energy and media sources like The Gwinnett Citizen whose focus is on the positive. If enough of us ignore the negative and encourage the positive, we can be the inspiration for change.
I have learned that I will never agree with all of the decisions made in my family, community, job, church, country or world, but that doesn’t mean I should be intolerant or unkind. I may have to tolerate decisions that are above my pay grade but being contentious will not change the decision or be helpful at any level. I challenge you all to “be the inspiration” in your communities because together we will solve our problems rather than create more for our children.
I would love to add your story of positive change to our Facebook page at Rotary Club of Lawrenceville. Please visit our page to let us know what you’re are doing.
Leigh McIntosh is a proud Rotarian and CEO of Creative Enterprises, Inc., a not for profit, training, and employment, community rehabilitation program for adults with disabilities. A lifelong resident of Gwinnett County, Leigh divides her time between advocating for people with disabilities, enjoying her children, grandchildren, and friends, helping her doTerra essential oil customers, traveling, and focusing on her spiritual journey to appreciate how we are all connected.