I have been working on this post for some four hours, and thus far, this sentence is all I have. I made several false starts … people who seemed to be philanthropists, seemed to be doing good things, but on further digging were merely collecting on other people’s altruism. Then there were scandals with some of the people/organizations I looked into. So, as time and energy are running on fumes at this point, and my family members who walk on all fours are determined to drive me nuts, I decided to think small tonight. Child-sized small, in fact. Children may only be able to do small-scale deeds, but it shows us that though their bodies may be small, their hearts are big. And since these pint-sized do-gooders hold our future in their hands, it is good to see that they already have a sense of caring for others, a sense of humanity.
You are never too young to understand the value of helping others. Second grader Phoebe Brown was running errands with her mother last week in Independence, Missouri when she came across a winning, $100 scratch-off ticket, just lying on the ground. For a fleeting moment, Phoebe admits, the thought of a spree in the toy department held a certain appeal, but it didn’t take long for her to remember that her school was having a canned food drive that week, and she ended up spending the entire $100 on canned food to donate to those less fortunate. Her good works even inspired her dad to match every dime she spent! At the end of the food drive, Phoebe’s class had collected 541 items of food, making them her school’s winner. As a fun reward, Phoebe and her classmates were invited to shave their gym teacher’s beard.
A group of schoolboys in New South Wales, Australia, were about to board a bus and head home after a rugby league game when they noticed an 81-year-old gentleman moving his woodpile from the front of his home to the back, one piece at a time. Without hesitation, the boys and their dads jumped in and moved every last piece of wood for the man. A small gesture? Perhaps, but it is a sign of respect and caring, a sign that these kids are being taught values and compassion. Hats off to the rugby team at Cooma North Public School!
Westboro Baptist Church, best known for its intense hatred of most everything, is located on the East Side of Topeka, Kansas, directly across from Equality House, a resource center established by the non-profit group, Promoting Peace (interesting juxtaposition, don’t you think?). Equality House and Promoting Peace is a whole story unto itself, but that will have to wait for some other Wednesday, because today’s story is about a six-year-old girl named Jaden Sink. After Jaden’s dad tried to explain to her that Westboro members promote messages of hate, Jayden decided she wanted to raise money toward spreading messages of love and peace. So Jayden opened a lemonade stand … not just any ol’ lemonade stand, but a pink lemonade stand, mind you! And in the first day of business, she made $1,400! I think this is proof that love sells better than hate! By the end of that summer in 2013, Jaden had raised more than $23,000, all of which she donated to the cause of peace.
But Jaden’s story didn’t end there. The story of Jaden’s pink lemonade stand went viral during that summer of 2013, and other children jumped happily on the bandwagon. Today, there are some 70 stands worldwide, with all proceeds going toward Equality House’s anti-bullying initiatives. Says Jaden, “We’re giving [the money] to the rainbow house to help people who are sick, and to help people be nice to each other.” That’s my kind of kid!
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on August 29, 2005, it made history as one of the five deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history. Then-10-year-old fifth-grader Talia Leman, seeing images of the destruction on the news, launched a charity urging kids to trick-or-treat for New Orleans, ultimately raising more than $10 million for the Hurricane Katrina foundation. From there, she founded RandomKid, a nonprofit that provides resources for young people who want to make a worldwide impact on any issue. Among the company’s successful efforts are reusable water bottles, which helped fund a water pump for an African village, and a push to provide crutches and artificial limbs to Haitian earthquake victims. Here is an example of a kid who started out doing small things and ended up doing some pretty big things!
Many of these stories are about small acts of kindness, but these children have the right idea, and I would not be surprised to see them make major differences in the world one of these days. Hats off to the kids, of course, but also to their parents who have obviously taken the time to instill compassion, kindness and caring about others into the hearts of their children.