For many of us wanting to make a positive change in this world through philanthropic actions, a multitude of questions often surround our desire to help, as we try to sift through the complicated layers of ‘doing good’. Our questions sometimes lead to uncertainties, which in turn lead to hesitation and reluctance in taking action, out of fear of doing something counterproductive. Indeed, social justice is a complicated endeavour, one with many grey areas and at times, one with ripple effects from a given action. However, by asking questions and maintaining a critical yet optimistic mind-set, we can engage in dialogue and the sharing of ideas and experiences, which will open the door to more purposeful actions (and in the scientific sense, questions lead to scientific experiments, which provide us with data and thus, evidence-based action). Although we may not get concrete answers right away, over time we can develop an assemblage of ideas and information, which will ultimately help us get closer to the best course of action.
I recently came across a column in the Globe and Mail by the Keilburgers specifically written to answer questions one may have about ‘giving back’ and ‘socially conscious living’. I read through a few of the postings and thought they did a good job of providing readers with motivation and inspiration to give back in simple, yet concrete and practical ways. Moreover, this column and many other similar forums provide an easily accessible tool for people to ask questions and in some cases, engage in dialogue (ideally, critical dialogue), which is a small step towards creating more awareness on important issues of our times.