This Question May Be Tough for Some, Easy for Others

“I have often wondered whether a person is justified in neglecting his own family to fight for opportunities for others”—Nelson Mandela

I came across this quote the other day, and it reminded me of a conversation I had with a colleague who said “No matter what I do, I want to make sure that my own kids aren’t suffering because I’m spending too much time taking care of other people.

A valid sentiment.

This quote and that conversation made me think of so many of the great figures of our past and present who have made great sacrifices to contribute to social change in their lifetimes. The traveling, speaking, protesting, civil disobedience, and other ways of challenging systems and/or providing services for people in vulnerable positions can be demanding.

It makes me wonder about what it took, and what it takes to fight for opportunities for others, and the ongoing process of working to do so without coming up short in other areas.

What do you think?

Are there times when a person is justified in neglecting their own family to fight for opportunities for others? Why? Why not?

What does “neglect” mean to you?

Can you have it all? Can there be a balance?

Grace & Peace,

From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW



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Written by

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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