Why are kids always doing cool things that adults don’t do? They play. They speak honestly. They walk up to people they like and just hug ’em (no playing it cool). They spend hours (if not over programmed by adults) watching bugs. I love that.
They also seem to take on gargantuan projects because they just assume they can. They see a problem with their fresh, new, untainted eyes, are shocked by it, and just start doing something. Let’s acknowledge that most of them have parents who say, “Why not?” on some level instead of “Nothing can be done; don’t bother.” Kudos due there.
Hannah Taylor started the Ladybug Foundation to address issues of homelessness in Canada when she was five and saw people eating out of dumpsters. She’s raised $2,000,000 through her foundation and is now a teenager. It started with baby food jars painted with ladybug pictures that were set on shop counters to collect spare change.
What about Alex’s Lemonade Stand, started by a four-year-old with cancer to help her doctors find a cure? She subsequently died, but her charity goes on, having raised $5,000,000 for cancer. It started with a one-cup-at-a-time lemonade stand and morphed into a major foundation.
Kid power. It’s the best.
When I was a kid, I found a quote that I loved: “I want you to be young all your life and say things that are true,” said Pablo Casals. Somehow even as a kid, I knew that it would require diligence to live that way long-term, maintaining that young perspective that names “what is” in life instead of living in pretense.
What if we aimed to move past the world-weary compassion fatigue that is so common to adulthood? It’s understandable, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable. What if we started by simply naming the truth — at the simplest level — about the world’s problems we encounter without automatically filtering it with “…but the problem is too big to solve so I won’t think about it.”
Try it the next time you see someone eating out of a dumpster or obviously suffering from cancer or trashing the environment or … anything else that’s a bastardization of how things should be in a world of shalom. Simply name the sadness, the anger, the outrage that you feel (or admit that you feel apathetic).
Baby steps. Toddler steps Children’s steps. That’s all.
If you can then start running with a solution, all the better… but it starts with that childhood tendency to see the world without a lens of resignation and then to “say things that are true.”