From the Desk of DG Tom Polk
There a story, author unknown, about a man seeing elephants being held. As the man was passing the elephants, he was confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at any time, break away from the ropes they were tied to but for some reason, they did not. The man saw a trainer nearby and asked, “why do these massive animals just stand there and made no attempt to get away?”
“Well,” he said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size of rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.” The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.
Do we as Lions have the same attitude as the elephant? We tried something, a long time ago, it didn’t work. We tried several things and they didn’t work. We then just throw up our hands and say, “it won’t work!”. At that point, we are like the elephant. There is not an expectation of change (“the rope will always be stronger than me”) and there is no longer any attempt for action.
I see comments from club officers in that they are “tired of asking people” and they are “burnt out from Lions”. It is my belief this is due to the root cause of membership issues in Lions today – Lions have forgotten why we became members. We have forgotten our purpose. Purpose is defined as “The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists” (Oxford Dictionary).
It is my opinion, that each of us must ask ourselves a critical question- “what is my purpose as a Lion?” The answer to that question will guide us to the actions that we need take. Are you concerned about reading, diabetes, hunger, vi-sion, environment or cancer? Maybe there is some other item closer to home that you want to make a difference in – a veteran memorial, a highway that needs to be cleaned up, Special Olympics – the list goes on and on. What isn’t on this list? Pancake breakfasts, a tenderloin, fish or chicken fry, flower sale or other fundraisers. Fundraisers are im-portant – as long as we don’t lose sight as to why they exist. They exist to fund some good work. They are not the end unto themselves.
The best thing for your club to be doing? Ask your community – what do you need help with? What are the unmet needs of the people around us? From there, find a purpose, a reason for your club, and other people of the communi-ty, to rally around. Make a difference and you will find, remarkably, people wanting to join your club.
Remember – We Serve with a purpose