Pick a Hero, Any Hero, Even if it Turns Out To Be You

I thought I’d speak to another level of resolutions, as the idea of new beginnings for a new year gels for many. I’d originally posted this last spring, but I can’t help thinking the winds of change in progress means looking at the world and our place in it a little more – and that maybe helping people is in itself a full enough belief system…

It would be crushing to write another Dejah story.  Despite the privilege of being able to write about it, I wish there’d never been a Dejah Milne story in the first place.  At least not the way it had to be written because otherwise the right story would say that his mother, father, and sister are still able to hold him and hug him whenever they want.

They’d be able to laugh with him, instead of at videos of his silly fun from days not so long gone by.  They would be able to hear his ‘I love you too’s with his voice.  They’d get to be angry with him for messing up the house, or coming home too late, or maybe denting the car’s bumper.   I know they’d rather that kind of everyday eye-rolling frustration instead of coping with the anguish of his absence now, because at age 13 years, he wasn’t able to overcome the tumour that he’d carried for 10 years.

I don’t want to write those stories if it can be helped at all. I don’t know anyone who does. The problem is, that the problems that end with those stories aren’t finished yet.  There are so many issues that need someone to stand up for them and in support of the cavalcade of teams who work tirelessly to end them once, and honestly for all.

These are the teams of people who have been called, or sometimes brutally and harshly forced, at a spirit level, to take charge in the parts of life that are painful, agonizing, hideous, and terrifying.  That’s heroics.

They are thrown toward the front lines to take on the darkness for us.  They stand and push as far as they can to get answers to the challenges that debilitate or outright steal loved ones from us.  They strive to make our world better, easier, more livable.

They need little from anyone else when it’s all put into perspective.  They’ve already taken on the heavy end of the fight.  They’re slogging, sweating, bleeding, and crying so that the rest of us get to hang back and throw out what we are able, when we can even as, just like us, they still have to navigate the trials of everyday life.

They ask for our help, but not for things like go earn a science degree or a doctorate, or to put our lives on the line, or to organize any kind of effort beyond our ability.

Those calls are usually only pleas to be heard, for us to see what is happening, and they ask us to spend the least of what we wish to.  Then they call us ‘their heroes’ for giving that bit.

Let’s get real please; they aren’t really asking for our heroics.  They are asking us to share only a little of our resources to sustain their herculean efforts for our sake.

Charity Capture distorted 3It doesn’t matter how we acknowledge that they’ve been heard.  Spend your hour of time.  Send your $2, $20, or your $20,000,000 if you can. Send your willingness to walk, run, dance, fast, drive, stand, or create, but whatever you do, please do not ignore these direct calls to your own soul. This is the least we can do, literally.

Look, whatever we choose to support today is directly connected to whatever is to be resolved tomorrow and in the issues in the days after that.  Start by choosing one, any one cause that made you turn your face toward it for even a minute.   We can all help another mother, father, son, brother, daughter and sister not have to spend another day in fear and grief.  That’s kind of heroic, right?

RL

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