On this fifth day of Kwanzaa, we celebrate and reflect on Nia [NEE-ah] (purpose).
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Nia, the theme of Kwanzaa’s fifth day, encourages us to set personal goals. Recognizing how our own goals fit into those of our family and community, and understanding the purpose behind our actions, helps us to reach those goals.
Setting out a game plan and making strides toward our own personal goals, which in turn lends to uplifting our community’s goals.
Too many of us wander around aimlessly, with no target to shoot for—just coasting through life to the next day. Some don’t even know there’s a choice to aim for something higher and better than what they currently have, or how to go about achieving such an aim. Finding Nia can be compared to some degree to the concept of the New Year’s resolution—one makes some promises and sets some lofty goals to accomplish in the New Year. But while there’s nothing wrong with starting small, the purpose associated with Nia should lend itself to a larger end goal, a greater good. Resolving to quit smoking will put money back into your pocket and put you on the road to improved health, but what would happen if you took that goal and reached out to a community health organization, working to help others take care of their health or comfort those with lung cancer? What could happen from someone vowing to eat healthier and exercise organizing a community health class or helping with a food bank or soup kitchen? Thinking bigger than yourself, creating a small ripple in a big pond, paying it forward—whatever name you give it, it is purpose in action for the benefit of all.