It always amuses me when people claim to be game changers in the world because they are always positive. You know them….the glass half full types….the ones that don’t like people that complain and wish everyone was positive like them. Imagine a world without complainers…..wouldn’t it be awesome? I don’t think so. I think complainers are the true game changers.
While they may not come across as positive people, they are the ones that get involved in politics, because they believe their candidate, party, or principles can change something. They are the ones that get businesses to change their policies, get rid of bad employees, or get involved in outside initiatives. They are often the people that reach out to charities and get involved. They write letters, make phone calls, and speak up in person because they believe their complaint is legitimate. Thanks to social media portals such as Twitter and Facebook, even something as simple as a restaurant that stops giving out napkins in the drive-thru can be corrected within days. There are countless stories of companies changing policies or customer service issues because of a 140 character tweet……just ask American Airlines or United Airlines as examples.
I know all this, because I am a complainer, and think I have a successful track record. I don’t look at the world as glass half full, or half empty, but instead wonder, who drank my water? And why? I look at the world and ask myself, what can I do today, to help better the world, one person at a time. Really. So I write letters, I make phone calls, and tweet and blog. I vote, because it is the ultimate way to change the free world. Yes, even if the options on the ballot are not very appealing. War is an aggressive, violent method of complaining and my ancestors died to ensure I had the right to vote so I feel obligated to do so. I also volunteer. Often. Some complaints can be resolved in days, others take years; others take talking to the right people and making bold moves.
I live in a community that grew rapidly for about 10 years and was in desperate need of an elementary school fairly early in that growth. Thanks to constantly raising the issue with government officials, a government insider called me one night to tell me there were new school announcements being made the next day, and our school wasn’t on the list, even though it was ranked higher than another that was being approved. I was encouraged to find parents to join me at the announcement to put pressure on the government to approve our school. When a mere 6 of us showed up the next morning, I would say the government went into panic mode. This was most likely a result of the media shifting focus to the community on the list being skipped, and why, rather than the positive news of 5 new schools, The end result was that 6 new schools were announced…..I still wonder why it wasn’t named after me. Not really.
This experience prompted me to volunteer to my community association 10 years ago partly because I wanted to make sure government kept up in other areas as the community grew. Unfortunately, the government has not kept up. A planned high school from 2005 disappeared off the list by 2007, and an approved health facility approved in 2005 was quietly cancelled but stayed on official project lists until at least 2009. Yet in that time, the population increased to 56000 just in my community! The City of Airdrie, north of my suburban Calgary community, is smaller but has a health facility and THREE public high schools. Airdrie has elected an opposition MLA that has nothing to lose by being vocal and supporting petitions, whereas I live in a community that does not engage in the issues. With 56000 people, we cannot get a dozen to make a phone call. We cannot get 100 people out to a community fundraiser even though we have 1400 kids in our soccer program. We cannot get people to sign up for community memberships even though it offers many discounts within the community. I have paid for my membership 10 times over just with discounts.
Do I ever want to give up trying? Of course I do. My kids will never attend a high school in my community. But I continue to fight for it because someone needs to hold government accountable. Someone needs to believe in making our community better. Someone needs to step up, speak up and sign up to change the world. I am doing my part. Are you?