How Some Kids Say Happy Valentine’s Day

How do kids say Happy Valentine’s Day?  Well, if you’re a kid at my kid’s school you put on a heck of a show assembled in the school gym and tell everyone gathered about other amazing children who risked their life to make a difference for humanity. They spread the news that even this day’s audience could make changes for a better world and showed them some important ways how.

We Day love 2A few of the various social responsibility groups within the school came together to create a mini version of WE Day.  WE Day, is an organization that was begun in 2007 by young Canadian brothers, Craig and Marc Kielburger, who wanted to wake-up children to the idea that even though they are too young to even vote, they can still be an instrumental part in exercising change for each other and for people around the world.  They present a very potent message of empowerment for kids.

The WE Day organization spreads its message primarily through large concert settings, also titled WE Day!  They enlist participation from renowned civic leaders and activists, high profile celebrities, and local students from elementary and middle schools.  They fill stadium after stadium with enthusiastic kids who get informed, empowered, and pumped up to take on the world.  Then they take home ideas and plans to get to work in their own communities.

WE Day love 3The school group that lead the show today were leadership teams from grades 6 to 8 that had gone to WE Day this year. They led and encouraged the assembled by reading stories about social changers, singing songs, playing music, dancing, and informing with various video presentations.

They introduced the students to the stories of 12 yr. old Iqbal Masih  and at the time, 13 yr. old, Malala Yousafzai, two children of prominence because they respectively lost and almost lost their very young lives by standing up for the right to an education.  In fact, it was Iqbal’s story in 1995 that riveted the attention of Craig and Marc and spurred them onto creating social change projects and ultimately the WE Day organizations.

One student presented a powerpoint report on his own family’s visit to Africa last July to help build schools for the children there. The pictures showed how the schools were shambled wrecks of barely there walls and roofs and then the beautiful and solid replacements that now stand in their place.

WE Day loveOther students got up and sang songs by Taylor Swift, some presented ideas on how to be givers of donations or time and showed where it would help. There was even the crazy-talented teacher band who played and sang their hearts out, and proud mom moment here – my son did a drum cover with Hedley song “Anything”.  They turned the lights down and balloon balls went into the air, and the kids were off on a singing, ball tossing, cheering high note.

A lot of effort went into this day of kids wanting to take care of other kids, and kids taking care of kids in real ways that matter to real life day-to-day.  The school administration and staff poured their support into it too.  It made you want to weep and sweep them all up into your arms in sheer joy, pride and gratitude.

Every one of them spoke, sang, danced and played the spirit of their hearts into ours, and as we danced our way out while the teacher band was playing (Brave), I couldn’t help thinking, this is what the day is really about.  This is really Valentine’s Day, this is the heart of We Day.

RL

Can Somebody Else Take the Call?

When charity hurts…

I’ve had to step back from all the social responsibility input I get from my social media lately. It is through these that I am most often reminded  that we don’t have any shortage of needs for all of our peoples.

I have clicked the ‘like’ button for several sites of social causes and in return I receive several messages a day on what needs attention, awareness, fixing, improvements, money, assistance, care, input, management, volunteers, and uprisings of various degrees – pretty much constant pleas for pretty much everything I have to give.

So many calls for my pennies, my dollar a day, my only $35 a month automatic debit, my Canadian Tire money, my empty cans and bottles, and used household items – pick-up included.

They use the most affecting photos and film clips to grab  my attention for their 2 minute plea, and hats off to their creators, they are very effective. (Must take notes for my  charities).

The posts fly by so often and in such variety that being overwhelmed with a complete sense of helplessness and guilt can happen quite suddenly and deeply. I want to help them all.  I wish I could help them all.  I throw my hands up in prayer for them all.

I tell myself that we can only do what we can do, but even so, I have to work to regain my social care equilibrium.   Take a break Mona. Whoa Nelly. Slow down Sally.  I find myself clinging to the Starfish Story.

We can’t help everything even if we want to.  We have to choose.  Making those choices is hell sometimes, but oddly this is where sanity starts to come back for me.  When I start to realize it doesn’t matter what I choose, it matters that I choose to help – period.  Breath in, slow and easy.

Not being able to answer every call for help is not the same as ignoring them.  That is someone else’s ringtone we’re hearing.  I do believe they’ll get it.  Exhale.  In the end, I think we tend to gravitate to causes that answer a call to healing within ourselves, and then we move on from there.

We better all brace ourselves though.  According to recent Costco displays, the really big season of giving is just around the corner.  Sigh.

RL

Starfish Story

The Starfish Story (an adaptation of part of an essay, The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley)