How important is it to socialize, or a better question is, what does it mean when someone is socially active? These are very simple questions, but thinking about what they lead to is vital for us all to note and recognize.
In a country like Bahrain, where the social fabric as they say needs some serious sewing, social work should be encouraged by all leaders in society. Not only does it yield direct benefits such as increased care for orphans when volunteering in an orphanage, but because the indirect benefits are massive, and in many instances surpass the direct ones. Let me explain.
For the past four years, I was an active member in the oldest running club in the Gulf, called the Bahrain Road Runners. Two years ago, I ran for Chairmanship and enjoyed heading this wonderful club for this time. During this spell, and while serving from within, I noticed and learned a lot, where no single academic institution in the world would be able to teach.
Cheaper than rope skipping, running is the cheapest sport in existance. You literally don’t need a pair of shoes to run, because running barefoot is actually doable, and good as well. However, running also appeals to the rich, to the middle class, and you know what, to everybody else. There’s something in running for everyone.
Bahrain Road Runner’s committee is tasked with organizing around 10 major events in a season. No single event is the same and they vary in distances where sometimes swimming and cycling are included in the same event. This keeps the races interesting, and challenging as well. Because the events are interesting, any male or female, local or expat, can participate, and they do.
Away from all the mess that goes on in villages at night, in our events, everyone comes to get a piece of mind, with a wonderful positive attitude. It is like Mecca, you’re there to improve yourself, and there are no differences or boundaries between every participant. There’s a start line, and there’s a finish line, and everyone equally covers the same distance. At the end, participants congratulate each other, enjoy the refreshments together, and promise to see one another again in the next event, when they have trained even harder.
I never meant to have this type of agenda, to give back to society by providing a platform for people to socially interact, but it works well, and I don’t mind taking credit for it.
In the Road Runners, I saw wonders happen, that no political society would be able to accomplish. Those who participate are from all parts and sects of this wonderful island, and we all became friends, and virtual friends as well. In one case, many of my new friends had serious issues from my perspective on their Facebook page. We knew each other well; we have shared photos together, so there was no other way than to continue our friendship to the virtual world, on Facebook. While caring for each other’s feelings, we stopped posting anything that may be insulting or hurtful. We decided, without expressing, to focus on what moves us forward.
Social media is not a replacement to real social interaction. We are humans, and when we sense each other in the real world, we can better tune in and productively interact. Then, you can carry on your friendship to the virtual world after clearly defining friendship.
I believe that every person should have two jobs, one that pays, and another that he contributes to. Contribution is a must, and that’s what makes a successful society. Whether through your financial wealth or your physical abilities, to reach a model society, social work is a must. Social work, as I have stated above, creates a great foundation for people in society to interact, communicate, befriend, and learn from one another.
I chose running and paid almost nothing to become a small part in moving Bahrain forward from all the worthless issues up and around the news. Get out there, turn off your TV, wake up early, a wonderful world awaits your social contribution.