Kids amaze me. This summer, I have spent a lot of time at events and festivals sharing the Blood:Water story, inviting people to participate in our Lemon:Aid campaign—the simple act of putting together some water, sugar, ice and lemons to make a difference in the lives of our friends in Africa.
Yet, sometimes, I feel like a broken record. Same story. Different person. “Will this person care? “I often think. “Among all the other noise, will they remember this conversation?” “Will they act? Will they feel the urgency I feel?”
Because, face it, there are a lot of options out there. Many amazing organizations doing great things. Yet, all I can think of are the communities I’ve visited who are still walking for water; or the school children who are waiting for latrines; the women who are sweating in the sun to make biosand filters; and the promise we’ve made that we will work with them to change their story and the story of their community. “I can’t stop telling the story,” I remind myself.
And then it inevitably happens. As I’m talking to the grown ups, its the little ones who respond.
Little hands reach into a pocket to get out their money.
Money they brought to spend on pretzels or ice cream.
Money they received for their birthday or for getting that good grade.
A few dollars crumpled up.
And then put it in the jar.
Without a question.
Without a pause.
And they walk away.
And almost always, I’m in shock.
Didn’t they have to think about it?
Didn’t they have to compare and contrast all the other needs in the world?
Didn’t they have to consult annual reports and financial statements?
No. They just acted. They were moved by the story and realized, right then and there, they could fix it. They could make a difference for one kid just like them. There were no barriers. No risks. No skepticism. Just a reaction that seemed worth making.
Didn’t they need accolades? Didn’t they want a t-shirt or their name in lights? No. They just needed to know in their heart they made a difference.
They need to know they made a difference just like my new friends, Olivia and Vincent. I met them in Atlanta. Together they both are making a difference in the lives of other families, locally and globally, by taking gently used and new shoes and recycling them to help build businesses around the globe. On top of that, they are using their efforts to impact issues like clean water and nutrition. So far this summer, they have raised over $1,000 by mobilizing their community to care. Not because we told them to. Not because their family pressured them to. Not because they were getting an award or a badge of merit. Because they saw that they could make a difference. So they did. I can think of many kids just like them, like Lily Katherine or Lulu. Kids who stepped out and said YES.
When was the last time you did something impulsively good because you could? When was the last time you believed you could make a difference and did it? You know, that voice that says, ‘Just give it away.’ I think we all have that voice, but often, we push it down. “No,” we say. “It won’t make a difference.” They won’t notice.” “It doesn’t matter.” “It is uncomfortable to do that. Say that. Be that.”
What if we said, “Yes.”
It will make a difference.
They will notice.
It will matter.
It’s worth saying that.
What are you going to say YES to today?