beachgoers form human chain to save drowning family

Just when you start to give up on all of humanity,
something like this happens to totally redeem it.

17 Jul What I Learned From the Human Chain

It’s been a little over a week since a group of nearly 80 strangers in Panama City rushed to make a game-time decision. In a matter of minutes, a human chain was formed to save a family of six drowning in a riptide. The news story, which captured the nation’s attention in a profound way, is still front of mind for many – including myself – and continues to circulate social media. What’s it about this act of bravery that has made it stand out so remarkably amongst the masses?

Human Chain Displays Humanity at its Finest

As one journalist put it, “In this moment, it didn’t matter what anyone’s political views were, what God they worshiped, where they were from, what language they spoke, what their gender was or who they loved. Those differences certainly existed (and differences are good, wonderful things), but when lives were on the line, those things didn’t matter.”  

For an unanticipated and unprecedented period of time, when lives were on the brink of being lost, humanity took over. A leader from the crowd of beachgoers stepped up by putting a rescue plan into place and then humanity went to work. You see, when society works together toward a common goal, we are stronger than when we work apart. And the same goes for the nonprofit community.

Two takeaways from this successful mission:

  1. Leadership: How often do we come across a problem and do nothing about it because we’re waiting for someone else to take action first? Luckily, for the drowning family, it took only one beachgoer to step up, develop a plan (human chain) and motivate an audience of 80 fellow beachgoers to take action. Had this individual not instinctually implemented his leadership skills, the result would have been daunting. Thank you to all our nonprofit leaders out there who’ve recognized a need (i.e. hunger, homelessness, abuse, lack of education, etc.) and then mustered up the courage to put a plan into place to tackle it head-on.
  2. Collaboration: We see it every day. All too often, nonprofits find themselves competing against each other for volunteers, donations, recognition, etc. Instead, can you imagine what it would look like if our nonprofits started collaborating for the greater good of their respective missions? Talk about impact! Two (or more) are stronger than one. While this certainly isn’t a new concept, it’s important to be reminded of it often. Had the beachgoers who formed the human chain hesitated or decided not to participate, I don’t want to imagine what may have resulted. It took everyone working together for a common goal to save the drowning family.

And there you have it. Humanity at its finest. Well done, humanity! Well done.

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