Starting last week, a lot of us noticed our friends changing their profile pictures to cartoons of yesteryear. It was an anonymously created Facebook campaign to “raise awareness about Worldwide Violence Against Children and Child Abuse.”
Child abuse in any form is a horrid and pervasive issue. Kids every day are abused, exploited, neglected, trafficked, maimed, and worse. It’s not an easy thing to really WANT to be aware of, so the fact we’re talking about it at all is a milestone.
But, then what? Profile pictures turn back into our friends’ familiar faces, and we go on with our lives. There may be a few news stories and blogs, but then what?
Passion can make us crazy. The fact our lexicon includes the phrase “passion killing” implies some craziness. Passion about a cause like this one can do the same.
Every day, I think about how lucky my kids are. No, not because we’re the best parents (we’re not) or can grant all their material wishes (no way), but because they have a community of family, friends, neighbors and systems to support their growth in healthy ways. They worry about what treat they get after dinner and if I’ll let them watch tv, but their real concerns are minimal. They eat, sleep, learn, play and get loved every day. Not all kids are that lucky. If there’s ever an issue to break our collective heart, it’s child abuse and exploitation.
So…what outcome is this campaign seeking? I’ve wondered this and decided a few days ago to post a link to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s donation site…. and encourage all of us to give. I know lots of people posted similar links, and it was because we felt compelled to do something aside from just “raising awareness.”
It’s not uncommon, however, to see this sort of thing happen, not just with a cause but also with a project, a plan, or a business objective. We humans are emotional creatures. We lock into an idea like “I’m against child abuse” or “I think this project would be cool” and we believe saying it enough or changing our picture will generate some sort of outcome. Before taking the NEXT step, whatever that is, consider the question, “what outcome will matter?” It’s amazing how many meetings you can stop dead in their tracks by asking the simple question, “Why are we doing this again?”
So, change your picture, discuss the campaign, and act. Part of why I wanted to explore this issue is because I’m hoping this blog will continue the conversation a little bit longer. It’s all about the outcome.
Have another favorite non-profit organization dedicated to this cause that could use some attention? Feel free to post the link in the comments.