Take Action, Make a Difference

Posted by: Zach Hethmon - September 5, 2012

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place…” – Rocky Balboa

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If you were to look at the world today, it would not take long to see the pain and suffering found all over the globe. Syria is being rocked by a civil war, Afghanistan is still groping in darkness for a decent future, and Northern Mexico at this point, is more under the control of drug king pins than its own government.

Yet as fraternity men, this is the world we have at our feet. And also as fraternity men it is the world we are charged with transforming into a better place. We hold ourselves to higher standards so that we can make the world better. Where to start though? Surely these problems are too big to be stopped by one man, even a Delt…or are they?

Let me call your attention to a ceremony we all went through, but may have thought little about: The Rite of Iris. In the excitement and mysticism of the Ritual and initiation, this little ceremony is easy to overlook. However if you recall at one point of the ceremony the brother-to-be is asked a simple, innocuous question. A question that even the Priest acknowledges need not be answered perfectly.

If a man is dissatisfied with himself, with his own life…what must he do?

That question is the perfect metaphor for the problems listed above. What if you flipped this question around and thought about what if a man is dissatisfied with his world? Obviously none of us wish Syria a brutal and bitter civil war. What can we do? The answer to that was given to us before we even answered. The Priest states,

I am about to ask you what may be a hard question, but any reasonable reply will be satisfactory.

Any reasonable reply. He told us! He told us right there what we must do! We must take any reasonable action we can. The point of this is not that we must have all the answers or that we must devote our existence to one cause. This doesn’t mean we have to live like Gandhi to bring peace to the world. It doesn’t mean we truly have to have an answer at all. All we must do is take whatever reasonable action is within our grasp to make it a little bit better.

So if there’s trash around your campus, pick up a piece and drop it off in a trashcan on your way to class. If you feel disappointed in the segregation or prejudice you see, go say hi to someone who is being judged. Any small action you take will make a difference.

So what are you dissatisfied with in your chapter? At your university? In the world? Go out and make it better even if it is just a little bit.

Zach Hethmon is a senior studying economics at the University of Tennessee.