In our ordinary lives we come across difficulties and challenges in our lives, the challenges are supposed to make us stronger and not weaker, if we become stronger we will leave a better life to overcome the coming challenges in life. In the book Soul of a Citizen by Paul Loeb we are told that we should try and leave the world better than we found it by improving it or by changing someone’ life or at least the way one thinks and this will eventually change the world by his or her action.
In chapter one the writer urges the people to participate at an time since the world presents many imperfect time that we have to act because there is no good time that will come for us to be active. Loeb’s subtitle in chapter one says that we have to make our lives count, this is by being helpful in changing the world and help in shaping it to a better world for our coming generation that we found it. Loeb also says that one does not have to be someone perfect, have a big position r be famous to influence change but change can be influenced by anyone, this encourages the people to take every opportunity they get and make change: he gives an example of Virginia Ramirez who did not know she could cause a change by being a social activities and influenced the community to protest on the funds provided to help the poor and less fortunate from the cold and severe living conditions still being channeled to the more affluent places in the community not seeing the need to help people like the poor old woman who ended up of pneumonia because of the cold. The death of the widow lead to Virginia leading the protest and with no time the money was availed to the community where people needed it more. Virginia’s action might have sparked some activism in someone somewhere and had helped the world to being a better place, Loeb says that it’s not about being an extraordinary to bring ordinary change but about being ordinary and bringing extra ordinary change as in the case of Virginia.
This chapter continues to embolden the less powerless and ordinary individuals into bringing a massive social change by not looking at their state but at what size of change they can bring.
Loeb tries to show his audience on the amount of change that has been brought about by ordinary people, for example Virginia Ramirez, Derrick Bell and Rich Cizik. These were ordinary people who brought about being change by their activism.
The participation of Derrick Bell in the (NAACP) and fighting for the rights of colored people brought about a big change in society where blacks, Asians were being discriminated and Derrick quit his position rather than quit his affiliation with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, since his objectivity could be questioned and he was being asked to resign his membership with NAACP.
The book encourages the ordinary people to spring up and bring huge social change by not being afraid to come out. “When we become small from the world, our souls becomes small, too.” By this Loeb meant that when one is afraid to come out and protest or hold a meeting to discuss on issues that are deteriorating our community one has no hope in making a social change and the souls has fear too since the inner strength comes from the soul.
Paul Loeb on chapter two talks about “We Don’t Have to be Saints” by this he means that we ordinary people can bring about a very big change in our social being and do not have to saints for us to bring change. In the quote , away from expectancy, we’re most operational when we grasp that there is no good time to get into societal causes, no ideal conditions for articulating our opinions. What every one of us encounters instead is an enduring sequence of unsatisfactory moments whereby we are left with the decision of what to put up with. Paul explains to people that there is no perfect moment for them to wait to make a social change but at any chance they get they should take it and influence the society.
This second chapter talks about the obstacles the ordinary people encounter in the social change action and what makes them not come out and participate in the change in a society. One of the main obstacle Paul Loeb tires to explain about is the belief that if one has to commit a public stand or influence the people towards a massive social change, one ought to be a larger than life character, this is where most people go wrong since it is not true, anyone can commit a public stand and enhance a social change, according to Loeb on this chapter Social change does not come about by single action of a great person but from many actions from ordinary people. Loeb gives an example of Gandhi Whose parents sacrificed nearly everything for him to go to Law School and later was seen to have let them down by losing most cases since he was afraid of public speaking, this lead to him being sent off to South Africa. This is where Gandhi got his voice and rose up to challenge the racial segregation there. No one new Gandhi could be such an activist and lead to an enormous movement that led to stopping of the racial discrimination.
the main thing elaborated in this chapter is that we do not have to be saints in order for us to carry out a social change but just have the spirit and willingness to be part and influence of a change as said by Loeb, “a readiness to live with uncertainty” this means one has the willingness to live with a purpose, for example a doctor has studied very hard to reach and become a doctor where he treats people, the doctor can protest for the better treatment and services offered in hospitals, he or she can work with the colleagues to ensure that no funds are being misused and the unaccounted money is returned and is used for the betterment of the hospital and used to improve the facilities. By this they would have changed a very large portion and encouraged an ordinary person to campaign for change in their own way.
This chapter talks about what keeps the ordinary person from being involved in a social change. It tries to hearten the ordinary person to be involved and think about the social gathering and the changes they bring to our society, how they enlighten people to think in a different manner and participate in social change.
The chapter in addition says that the ordinary people who have influenced the big people and have had an impact in making them who they are right nw. Meredith Segal was an student organizer for Obama on facebook before Obama had considered vying for presidency and the students on facebook had a great influence in him vying for the seat. This shows that he started somewhere and moved slowly until he became the president one day.
Loeb says that when Suzy Marks, an activist from Los Angeles, concealed herself behind her sign of peace, she didn’t know that one day she would be speaking in public being interviewed and leading the civil rights movements, but with time she came to discover herself and progressed towards achieving a huge social change in the concern for civil rights and peace.
The chapters theme is on taking things a step each day which goes with the saying that hurry hurry has no blessings. Loeb explains that in order for one to participate in a social change successfully one has to go step by step and day by day. We cannot accomplish everything at once and it’s best to do things in a systematic order. The results of a social change are not instantaneous and visible results are seen after a while. Loeb gives as an example of the French theologian, Phillipe Vernier who offers a similar perspective on conducting a life of spiritual purpose: We should never wait for great empowerment before getting out there, he cautions, that immovability weakens us more and more each day. We should not wait to perceive things vividly before beginning: one has to learn how to advance toward the light.” This shows that a million start by one and for us to have greater accomplishments and results we have to start with one step and be patient.
Paul Loeb tells the reader on how social work encourages us to build our narration toward change and join others on the change progress as a community and build our workplace firmly. This will also encourage our neighbors to join and not to be afraid to speak on their key public issues. Given on how easily ones hopes of building a nation and achieving the goals they have in changing and shaping the world, the hopes can be tumbled down with very little time if we don’t have a plan and do things step by step hence the book helps the reader to be able to identify how they could be involved in social change activism and how to progress in doing it.
In this chapter Loeb talks about the American culture in which people believe that nothing can be changed. As he quotes what was written in the Microsoft founded online magazine: “It’s what everyone is talking about,” the ad proclaimed: “media, politics, technology, high and low culture … all with a certain insouciant smirk that thinking people find compelling.” The ad says that we have to acknowledge and agree that the world is inherent, corrupt and bought and that the act of trying to change it Is useless and nothing can be done to change it. This shows that the people with power and money will continue thriving and continue stepping on the low class leaving them with nothing to fight for and living under bad condition.
Loeb says that the American culture is cynical and does not promote the act of participating in social change since it says that nothing can be done. This makes most people not to be able to be involved in shaping the world and this leads to no progress in the social change.
A cynical smirk as the subtitle for this chapter is a an arrogant smile the people who advocate for social change get from believer who think nothing can be changed and are smiling since they know that they can get what they want since they have the power and the complaints will have no effect since they cannot reach him or her. This applies in our day to day life where a powerful person gets away with crime and does not suffer the consequences since they have the money and they end up walking and smiling for something bad they did. This is what the American culture has encouraged.
Loeb says how the hypocrisy of our society emboldens us to distance ourselves from the misery of others; how the distance between rich and poor in this country has increased greatly instead of us breaching the gap and reducing it, and how we use hypocrisy to persuade ourselves that it is not necessary to get involved in fighting for our rights to protest for the infringement of some of our rights. “If we persuade ourselves that change is impossible, there will be no need of risking on pursuing our dreams,” as Loeb said. We cannot change the world and make it better through social change by not being convinced that there is need, we have to be convinced that we need change and there is something we can do, this is because the ordinary person will continue to suffer and the rich will get richer hence Loeb encouraged people against the cynicism of the American culture towards social change and showed the people that there is need for change in order to shape the world for the coming generations.
This chapter has the title “unforeseen Fruits” this is a metaphor that means the unseen support that one will gain from starting something small that is passed to few and later it is passed to many other people who support it and the following and support becomes massive. This is when one person may unknowingly instigates another, and that person yet another third, who may then go on to change the world.
Loeb gives us an example where Raymond Park, husband to Rosa park invited her to one of the NAACP meetings which was a key and inspiration to her movement later on the bus, we can take a look of how going to the meeting motivated her and she came to lead a protest on civil rights dozens of years later.
Loeb tries to tell us not to take for granted the freedom we enjoy and the rights there to protect us. He gives examples that without the movement of the women’s suffrage, the women in this group would still be unable to participate in elections, without the movement of civil rights, Most schools in America would still be white schools with all other races locked out, this movements was as a result of fighting for the rights with purpose as Loeb quotes Sonya Tinsley. Therefore, a lot needs to be done to edify people on how the rights and freedoms we assume, came by due to the sweat and blood of our predecessors. They did not come by through accident, or goodwill, but through fight and purpose. There’s a very small percentage of value in our society that came by easily. This shows that for every right we enjoy there was a person who struggled and fought for it so we should all participate and be involved in Social change for the next generation to enjoy the fruits of our work.
The theme, unforeseen fruits is as a result of one’s effort and finally coming together and bringing change. Loeb gives us an example of the current U.S.A president Barrack Obama who started by becoming a students’ activist after being influenced by fellow students through social sites like facebook and later became the president of America, this was unforeseen fruits of the students who encouraged him.
Loeb tells us that sometimes we do not have to try and look at the result since the result might not be what we expect as said we approach the light and the light might be from a greater source and much brighter than we thought. Loeb has inspired a lot of activists and encourages the ordinary person to advocate for change and participate in social change and shaping of the world.