Cause and Affect

If you were the country’s First Spouse, what would be your cause?

Historically, First Ladies have championed a cause. Pursued a project. Motivated a movement.

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Dolley Madison (1809-1817), orphan care.
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Mary Todd Lincoln (1861-1865), Civil War soldiers and recently freed slaves.
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Lucy Webb Hayes (1877-1881), women’s education, Civil War veterans.
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Lou Henry Hoover (1929-1933), athletics, outdoors, education.
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Eleanor Roosevelt (1933-1945), equal rights, among other humanitarian and national policy topics.
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Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson (1963-1969), beautification.
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Betty Ford (1974-1977), breast cancer and later, addiction/mental health
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Nancy Regan (1981-1989), drug abuse. Just say no.

Now imagine yourself in their position. It’s January, and your spouse will begin their first term as President. The focus and flurry has been immense, and everything in your life is new. Just when you are beginning to breathe, a smartly-dressed team member with a clipboard turns to you in a crowded room and asks loudly,

“So. What’s your cause gonna be?”

Whoosh. (That’s your breath leaving your body.)

Fortunately, the majority of us can breathe again right now as we come back into our own reality. And if the one person who actually owns the above reality is reading this, she can breathe too.

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You go, girl.

Because there is no wrong choice.

And we can all choose to support a cause that interests us, right where we are, with what we have.

So again, what would your cause be?

Here’s a fun, quick, three-step exercise to guide you:

STEP ONE: What lights you up? For example, my list might look something like this:

  • My pet
  • Goat’s-milk soap
  • Fresh eggs
  • Family gatherings
  • A good talk with a good friend
  • Snowshoeing

STEP TWO: What are possible larger concepts of your specific items? Continuing with this example:

  • Animal welfare
  • Sustainability
  • Food industry
  • Eldercare
  • Mental health
  • Healthy movement

STEP THREE: Pick one. What are actions you can take to support this in your life, right now? Some ideas for these examples:

  • Donate a bag of dog food to your local animal shelter
  • Make a homemade soup
  • Buy from a farmers’ market
  • Call your Mom/Dad/Grandparent for an extended visit
  • Read an uplifting article from Heal Your Life
  • Stand up and move on the hour during your desk-job workday

And remember, offering up a prayer is also a right action.

You don’t have to be in a privileged position in order to have power. Your actions have an affect.

You make a difference.

Now it’s your turn. Share below some of your interests. Unsure of what a larger connection could be? Looking for ideas on actions you could take? Ask for help and see what gets sparked in this safe space of comments, below.

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You are the light.