Approaching Lent with a Lens of Contribution

I have always appreciated the period of Lent as a time of reflection and response to the sacrifices that allow us to be who we are.  As a protestant Christian, I choose to celebrate Lent in relation to the sacrifices of Christ, but I think that the season has implications beyond a circle of believers since all of us have come to be who we are because of the sacrifice of others, sacrifices often made in love, even when we are not capable of fully comprehending them.

This year, I decided that what I committed to sacrifice “silence, separation and solitude” in the spirit of community building and to take on contributing actively to one person daily in order to begin to establish a habit of regular contribution (and an awareness of that contribution) and to begin to change the narrative of divisiveness which has seemed so loud around me in recent days.

Today is the first day of Lent, so I decided to use this blog to chronicle as much of this 40-day journey as I’m able to.  I figured I would start by looking up the word “contribution” so I knew what I was taking on. The three definitions I found through a quick google search were:

  • A gift or payment to a common fund or collection
  • The part played by a person or thing in bringing about a result or helping something to advance
  • An article or other piece of writing submitted for publication in a collection

By taking on the lens of contribution, I realized that there were already ways in which most of us contribute everyday–to our families, to friends, to total strangers, to journals, to movements, etc.  It’s just that we don’t pause and reflect on the importance of contribution and how it advances our work with solidarity and a spirit of caring.

So, I’m inviting you on this journey of Lenten contribution with me.  Share with me via Twitter (@ProfHsieh), Facebook (in response to my daily posts) or on this blog how you’re contributing to those around you, as I share with you.

Today, I contributed to my students and my college by reading and giving feedback on lesson plans, teaching my course, and interviewing candidates for one of our credential programs.  And, I got acknowledged for past contributions to students in my program.

Contribution is a gift that gives back immeasurably so I hope that instead of (or in addition to) giving something up for Lent, you’ll also joining me in giving forward, giving back and contribution.

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