Kid Power

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.”





2 thoughts on “Kid Power

  1. I’m a little bit suspicious of this tendency to idealize children as role models, as we all do in corrupt and jaded Western societies. I’ve spent enough time in church nurseries to know that children are not innocent little angels; they’re actually just amoral (not immoral) little animals. They’re capable of affection like puppies but also capable of destruction and cruelty like animals, and their tendency to tell the unvarnished truth without sensitivity to situation is NOT something I’d like to see reproduced in adult society. Yes, childlike wonder can be touching, but it definitely needs to be grafted onto an adult capacity for judgement and the conscious cultivation of character; and I expect WAY more from adults than toddler and baby steps. 🙂

  2. Tell me more about the idealization of children being specific to “corrupt and jaded Western societies.” It’d be interesting to think about how they are seen (in this regard) in Eastern cultures.

    I appreciate your perspective… which presents another side of a coin. However, even though I EXPECT way more from myself and other adults, I do see the frequent ability to excuse inactivity with “sophistication” or “realism” whereas kids (when they’re not biting other kids) do often assume that their actions will matter, so they jump in.

    I guess we could be cynical and say that sometimes foundations started by kids gain traction simply because we “idealize children as role models.”

    You always make me think. And I love the happy face… thanks for tempering your strength with a smile! 🙂

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