If there is hope for the future, it must lie with our young people. Every week, when I begin trolling the ‘net for a good person to write about, I come across many, many shining examples of young people – some as young as 5-years-old – doing good things. This week is no exception, and being in somewhat of a bleak mood after the events of the past few days, I decided to give my sagging spirits, and yours I hope, a boost by seeing what our future leaders are up to.
Sam Coleman-Dancer, 19, works at an Ace Hardware store in Cleveland, Mississippi. Two weeks ago, an elderly man walked into the store looking for a shovel. The man proceeded to tell Sam how he was just diagnosed with cancer and was having to bury his beloved dog of 15 years.
“He told me about the times they spent together, walking and playing fetch. He said his dog had always been there for him. He was very emotional, and it touched me. I told him I would like to come to his house after work and help him bury his dog. His eyes opened wide. It was amazing. He said, ‘I can’t let you do that. Are you sure?’ I said, ‘I’m positive. As soon as I’m off work, I’ll head right over’.”
And he did just that. After work, Sam went to the man’s house and helped him bury his loyal companion.
“He asked me if there was any way he could repay me and I told him ‘yeah, by taking a picture with me’. Because I know that picture is something I will cherish forever.”
Eight year old Maurice Adams was riding in the car with his mom and sister on the evening of May 31st when he looked out the car window and spotted an elderly lady struggling to climb a flight of stairs on an outdoor path in Milledgeville, Georgia. Maurice asked his mom, “Can I go out there and help her up the steps?”
This video tells he rest of the story …
Brecken Hayes, a 7th grader at Avon Middle School North in Indiana, had been saving his money for some video games he wanted to buy. But when he learned of a shortage at the local food pantry, Brecken chose to use all of the money he had saved up to help those in need.
“I don’t really need that stuff. Those are wants. People need food and water to live. and they don’t have that. And I already have it. So I don’t want to be greedy. I just wanted to help them.”
Cool kid, eh? In total Brecken’s school donated $1,000 to the Mary Lee Maier Community Pantry.
Last Wednesday night, two Minnesota high schools competed in a do-or-die playoff baseball game. The winner would move on to the state championship while the losing team’s season would come to an end.
In the final play of the game, pitcher Ty Koehn struck out Jack Kocon sending Mounds View to the state championship. For Totino-Grace, the season was over.
As soon as the strike was called, Koehn made a beeline for Kocon and embraced him, all while his teammates rushed the field, celebrating wildly.
“We are very close friends. I knew him from all the way back when we were 13. We were on the same little league team. It was tough when we went to separate schools but we kept in touch. I knew the game was going to keep going or it was going to end right there. I knew I had to say something. Our friendship is more important than just the silly outcome of a game. I had to make sure he knew that before we celebrated.”
That, folks, defines the word ‘sportsmanship’.
Bruno Rafael Paiva is a substitute teacher in Brazil, who is currently filling in for another teacher who is on maternity leave. Things work a bit differently in Brazil than they do here in the U.S., and Bruno has not yet begun receiving paychecks due to bureaucratic hurdles. Since the position he is filling is in an area too far from his home to commute, and since with no paycheck, he cannot afford to rent a room, Bruno has been sleeping at the school.
Eventually the students learned of Bruno’s plight, and they pooled their money to come up with $400 to give Mr. Paiva. He was stunned …
“This cannot be. How can you do this?”
When Bruno began crying, wiping tears from his face, every student in the class went to him and they had a huge group hug.
Now, granted, these stories are all about small things, things that likely go unnoticed in the course of a day. Nobody in these stories dedicated their life to saving starving children in Africa, or giving million dollar grants to climate scientists to pursue their work. Nobody built houses for the homeless or rescued people from an avalanche. But you see, it doesn’t matter the size of the good deed, but rather the compassion behind it. These are all young people who have their hearts in the right place, who have somehow, whether from parents, teachers, family or friends, come to realize that we are all on this planet together, are all part of the human race, and that it feels good to help each other.
We don’t learn to be givers, to have compassion for others at age 25, or 43, or 59. It isn’t something that comes to us at some point in our lives. It is nurtured in our youth. These young people are the sort who give us hope for the future, hope that perhaps people with humanitarian values are not a dying breed after all. If we just look around us, we can see everyday people, ordinary folk like us, doing good things. I am encouraged by the big hearts of these young people. I hope you are too.