Heal the World: Baby Steps




About: Every now and then I come up with a unique idea. And then I find someone else has already thought of it . . . which is AWESOME! Who knew there were so many kindred spirits on the web! YOU GO all o' us!

We all know the world is screwed up. But there is much good as well. I'm creating this collaborative instructable as way for everyone to share a simple step that could be taken to improve the world. As a whole, these steps would be a powerful tool for anyone looking to help heal the world and improve it in some way.

If you appreciate this instructable, please visit my blog for more ideas:

Love is a good first step.

I find there is far too much negativity in public discourse. On nearly every topic of discussion, negatives seem to be emphasized over the positives. I've seen plenty of bumper stickers and shirt designs against something or other, but very few in support of something (other than sports teams).

So the first tiny baby step on how to heal the world is this:
Be brave. Make and wear a shirt with a solely positive message that you really mean.

I used permanent marker to make this one. Whoever you are reading this. I love you (In a brotherly, non-romantic sort of way). I say be brave, because as an introvert, I've always felt this way, but have a hard time expressing it. It was very scary for me the first time I wore this shirt to school. Now it's kind of exciting. Some people even smile and wave when they read the shirt. It feels good to spread that kind of love.

Please feel free to add your own step to this instructable, on some small thing one could do to help heal the world.


Step 1: Give Back a Little

Courtesy of NachoMahma:

. Volunteer. Even if it's just an hour or two once a year. There are plenty of good causes out there that could use whatever your particular talent is. {A good volunteer activity for me has been reshelving books at local elementary schools, helping serve food as a soup kitchen, and visiting folks in nursing homes. Many times, you can simply look them up in the phone book and ask to volunteer. --R}
. Tithe. Or something close to it. I'm not religious, but I like the idea of giving a little something back (I've had lots of help over the last 50 years).
. Practice chivalry ("based on brave, courteous and honourable behaviour " what came to be known as 'gentlemanly conduct'"). Especially the courteous and honourable parts.

Step 2: Draw. Be. Learn. Advice From Kiteman.

Courtesy Kiteman:

  • This is my advice. Draw a line

I am a teacher, and I have found that one of the best ways to maintain class discipline at the levels I had to hold to as a child (not the anarchy you see on TV documentaries) is to make it very clear that you have a point beyond you will not be tolerant. As long as their behaviour, attitude and effort stay the right side of the line, the class is good. I am benevolent, smiling, humorous. Cross the line, and the Wrath of Sir descends.

Be intolerant

Much is made of being tolerant of others' beliefs, attitudes, culture. But this has gone too far.

Yes, respect others. Yes, respect their beliefs, but only if they are worthy of your respect. Do you find it admirable to send others to their deaths as suicide bombers? Do you admire an organisation for continuing to send young men to the horrors of war just to save political face? Do you agree with people who claim that God laughs whenever an AIDS victim dies? Fine, that's up to you.

If, however, you line has been crossed, say so. Don't just tut and shake your head when you see a youth toss a wrapper on the floor, use a firm voice and tell them to pick it up. Don't just swear at the TV when politicians do something stupid, write and tell them. Don't feel depressed about GW, extinction and deforestation, do something little about it, and tell lots of others to do something little about it. Each thing might be a drop in the ocean, but enough drops together make an ocean.

Learn for yourself

Do not let other people tell you what you should be or do (which is why this chunk is advice - you can ignore me if you want, but you should be able to say for yourself why I am wrong, not just repeat what others say about me being wrong).

If you feel you need a god in your life, fine, but don't just listen to the preacher tell you what you should do to prove you are One Of The Faithful. Read your holy book, alone, with no other books to tell you what the holy book means (though a decent concordance may help add context if your history is weak - Watchtower is not a concordance). Find out what other versions of your faith say about the same subject. compare your holy book to theirs (there are, for instance, some interesting differences in punctuation between protestant and catholic bibles).

Decide for yourself exactly what to believe and how to express that belief.

If you choose to have no faith, then think hard about that as well - how exactly will it affect your life? There are not so many books available about atheism or humanism, as atheists tend not to organise themselves into groups that meet (what would they discuss?), but there is quite a bit available on the web.

Join your local, real-world community Instructables is a community, linked by the theme of Making. Many of us have much in common, and others have differences that generate constructive conflict, but we would not have known each other at all if we had not joined in.

So it is with the real world.

Switch off your computer, switch off your TV (at the socket!), and go out and talk to people and read some notices. Look at the flyers people advertise meeting with. Find out what other people do in their spare time. Join a club.

I am a Cub leader, which can take a lot of my time, and sometimes clashes with school and home life, but it is very satisfying. Our Pack is one of the most popular in the area, the kids get a lot out of it, and we can see them get better as people (instead of educational statistics) in their time with us. I have also made a lot of good adult friends, buddies who make my life better because they are in it. My wife knits, and has joined a local "knit and natter" group. She helps the PTA at our son's school.

Find something that vaguely interests you, and join it at some level.

  • Cubs, scouts, brownies, guides, air cadets, sea cadets, army cadets, TA or National Guard, St John's Ambulance (a UK volunteer 1st aid organisation), lifeboats, mountain rescue, Women's Institute, school governors, parish council, all of these are on a fairly constant lookout for new members, leaders, instructors, whatever. Go for it.

Did I talk too much? Are you one of those people who prefer soundbite advice? Don't want to read a whole book to find out how to live? Fine, then let me finish with the Druid Credo. Follow it with thoughtfulness and you won't go far wrong:

Do what thou wilt, an it harm none.

Step 3: Play.

Courtesy of Hay_Jumper_:

Royalestel once asked me if I have any suggestions for being creative. What follows is an edited version of the email I sent him after wrestling with the problem for several days.

" I've been thinking about it, and I think I may have nailed it.

I think, for me at least, creativity is rooted in the ability to allow oneself to play. That's it. Just play. Not every piece of art has to be a masterpiece, and not every piece needs to be a success. If we allow ourselves the freedom to play, we have the freedom and the ability to make some great things.

There will probably be a lot of it that gets thrown out or abandoned in the persuit of real "art", but the liberating sense one gets when just goofing around is invaluable. By just asking yourself "what if...", and not worrying about if that idea is "good" or even feasible, you've opened up pathways that were closed before.

When I was in my last semester in school, I took a course called Mixed Media, and the core of the projects we did was based in the four elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. For the Fire section of the course, I assembled a framework of thin wood strips which I wrapped in tracing paper and lit a fire inside of it. It was quite beautiful, I thought, and at the end I concluded that there was something extremely liberating about making a thing that I fully intended to set on fire. I didn't worry so much about craft, or perfection. I didn't have that luxury: the construction moved swiftly and the end result was a graceful, beautiful form which was fated to the ash bin.

You asked what I did for a living. I'm a moldmaker at a bronze art foundry here in [edited]. It really is more of a technician job, like yours. There is a good deal of creative problem-solving that goes into it, but it's not really all that creative. When you only work with two materials, rubber and plaster, there's not a whole lot of ways to push that. But I've found a way to make it work for me.

It started when I would take the extra plaster that I had when making mother molds, and, instead of simply throwing it in the trash, would make a little assemblage of plaster forms. These yielded nothing of any consequence, but got me thinking about what I could do with the stuff I would have thrown out anyway. Then I started pouring my excess plaster into plastic bags and mooshing the shape around while it was setting. This also yielded few keepers, but I think it was the genesis for what would become the body of my work for the next year and a half (so far).

We got a new coffee machine one day, and the styrofoam packing material had been thrown into the trash along with the box. Being a moldmaker, I often think of things in the negative, and I was really intrigued by the space inside the styro tray that held the coffee machine. So I mixed up some plaster and poured it into the space. I pulled it out and "Whoa!" it was fuckin cool, man, a really neat form.

So it began.

I started collecting styro trays and casting plaster into them. After removing the forms I would finish the surface and alter the positive however I saw fit, but I got some really great forms out of what was essentially trash and plaster, which is so cheap it's almost free. The coffee piece was actually cool enough that I molded that and cast a bronze of it which is going up for auction later this month for a price that I'd be too shy to ask for myself.

And that's it... What started as a goof and a way to add a little tiny bit of interest to my day lead in a clearly definable path to a complete body of work. I think maybe this is the answer to the dilema.

Well, I feel a lot better being able to put into words my method of creation. And I feel I should thank you for making me define it. I don't know if it helps you at all, but that's how I see it from my little corner of the world. Good luck on your quest, and keep my abreast of any future projects. Sincerely, -HJ"

As an artist, I feel that the ability to be creative is akin to having the ability to breathe. Plus, in all reality, art makes the world a nicer place to be. So allow yourself to be creative, don't worry about the end result, and you WILL be a happier person. And happy people make for a happier world.

Some other thoughts on the subject:

Please, when driving, use your turn signals. It's not just the law, it's nice of you to let me know what you intend to do.

Don't littler. This is self-explanatory.

Make a point of pausing and recognizing the beauty around you. A lot of it exists.



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    19 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I personally enjoy the "free hugs" shirt....

    (and on the back you could put "surprise hugs, $2.00" to tryand make some money.... but you might need to watch where you wear it.for instance, not at a nursing home.)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Screw that....PAVE THE EARTH!!!!! Everyone drives V8's There's a gas station every 5 miles there IS no berm ALL animals will be extinct and be made into seat covers for our obnoxiously loud V8's There will be no "School Zones" PAVE THE EARTH NOW!

    6 replies

    11 years ago on Introduction

    I know another nice shirt slogan "Hug me I'm huggable" great collaboration now spread the word there where brotherly love and respect is most loss high school!

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I met a kindred spirit selling shirts in NY with slogans like "Enjoy Everything" (A Coca Cola parody) and "I (heart) U" (an parody of the I love NY shirts. Wish I could find the link to his website. . .


    12 years ago on Introduction

    :) Thank you! It is great to know there are people in the world who think like this. So many times, I allow the negative to seep in and take for granted that there are still decent human beings in this world. And to top it off you are a teacher, that makes me smile even more. I don't have any children (yet) but one of the biggest things that scares me is for them to grow up in this world of apathy and "tolerance." Thanks again and I love you too!

    2 replies

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Please, understand that I am not a teacher. Kiteman, who contributed step two is the teacher in the UK. I like teaching, though!


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Yes totally Free hugs are great too!! I have been trying to change for the better recently this is a major help, I LOVE YOU TOOO!!!!

    1 reply

    I was thinking about the topic and then I'm like if it starts small then it will turn into a giant snowball, but instead of snow it will be of peace n stuff


    I think it's good that you posted this, it's something people have to read even though they don't want to. It is great you put this and everyone has to time to help out. Thank you.