There is so much chaos going on in the world today, wars, economic downturns, hatred and distrust. It can cause a lot of worry, about the future, about the economy, about things like job security and retirement funds. Life in general is full of worry, but the things to worry about can seem to be getting bigger and harder lately. There is a lot of uncertainty. But we don’t have to be stuck in worry. The future is bright.

But how do we trust that the future is bright? In part, we create it. Obviously, we can’t walk up to world leaders and tell them to stop behaving like small children and start to behave like adults, even if we really wanted to. But in our own realm of influence, we can make the world a little brighter. That realm of influence isn’t just our neighborhood either, we can affect someone else halfway around the world. The things you do may not make the entire world brighter, but they can make all the difference in just one person’s world, making their life a little brighter.

To begin with though, our neighborhoods and communities are a great place to start. There are all sorts of ways to help in any community, from food pantries to clean ups, school programs to community driven programs. I can guarantee that any community organization that is mainly run by volunteers needs help. Not into helping in an organization? Look around your community and find an individual to help. We all have abilities to help others in some way. Maybe through our existing talents, or knowledge we have gained over the years. The elderly and the upcoming generations are a great place to start if you’re looking for someone to serve. You can make a huge impact, even if it is on just one person, by reaching out and helping locally. That makes the future just a little bit brighter, even if it’s just locally.

We can also help with world problems. I think to start with, we can make sure we aren’t spreading rumors or incorrect information. If we want to share information, we should first do the background work and make sure it’s correct. Social media makes it super easy to just share whatever sounds good, even when we don’t really know how accurate it is. Social media is not a news source, and yet so many people use it as their only source of news. Don’t share information unless you know where it came from and know it is true. The other way we can help out the world is to donate to sources that utilize the money responsibly. Since most of us can’t afford to drop what we’re doing and fly around the world getting our hands dirty, we need to find reliable companies who can afford to do so. Researching those companies before you donate though is key. Look for the breakdown of how they spend every dollar, or hundred dollars they receive. Obviously, there are operational costs, salaries to be paid to those who do work for the company, costs of getting goods and services around the world, etc. But a good company will give more than 70% of the money’s contributed to the actual sources that they say they help. And when hardships do strike your community, take opportunity to roll up your sleeves and help out where you can.

Helping others is a great character builder for our kids (and us too). Make them a part of the giving, or the volunteering so that they can feel the beautiful rewards of service, and so that in the future they won’t be afraid to jump in and help out. Helping others comes with personal benefits as well. The biggest ones I have felt is peace and joy. Helping someone else always brings peace and joy, the two cures for the fear and distress that we see so many places around us today. If you want to feel that peace and joy, and see the future as bright rather than dreary, I encourage you to be one of those helpers, quietly going about doing good to make this world a better place.