So much is being broadcast about the horrific devastation in Haiti. No matter how much you may cut yourself off from the media, it is impossible not to hear stories of death and destruction. But at the same time, it is equally hard not to hear stories of survival, human connection, and love, especially when you look for them.
When something so big happens, it’s so easy to think “How can I possibly help? How can I shine my little light on a tragedy of this magnitude?” Many of us like to think we could be of help, and then we often come up with all of the excuses as to why we can’t right now.
Sure, we hear about celebrities making a difference, but what about the guy down the street? What about a child?
Well, since I have been pondering these ideas, I’ve come across some fantastic stories of kids making a difference. You may have heard of the 7-year old boy in England who, having seen a young Haitian child being pulled from the rubble on TV, wanted to make a difference. So, he decided to raise money for Unicef by riding his bike. His goal was to raise 500 pounds. Last I heard he had raised over 100 times that! One boy who got an inspired idea and took the next step – what an act of empowerment!
There was also the story of the 12 year-old boy in Ohio who started what he called “Cocoa for Haiti”. He said if 10 kids would do what he is doing, and if each child raised $10, they would have raised $100. That might sound like small change to some people, but to the average Haitian, who earns approximately $1-2 per day, think what that $100 could do. His goal is to raise $1000-$2000. And I bet he’ll achieve his goal.
Two kids from different parts of the world, each with an idea to help someone else. They were empowered to believe they could make a difference, and they were not stopped by limited thinking. What a gift to pass along to a child!
How can you empower your child to realize that she CAN make a difference? Here are 3 ways to instill this idea:
1) Challenge your child to come up with ways to help.
Have you missed potential opportunities to get your child involved in charitable activities, perhaps because you don’t know what is possible yourself?
These 2 stories prove that kids can make a difference, and often they’ll come up with better ideas than adults because they haven’t yet adopted the limited thinking that many adults hold. You know the mindset – the one that gives you all of the reasons why things won’t work! I just read a great quote from Henry Ford today on this topic. He said:
“I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.”
I love that. Unlimited thinking is creative thinking, and it gets things done.
2) Value your child’s ideas and help them figure out a way to make them work
Instead of coming up with reasons why their ideas won’t work (i.e., limited thinking), be creative in figuring out how their ideas can work. Did you know that no idea is born without a way to make it happen? Knowing this fact alone is empowering!
3) Ask them how they feel after they’ve done good.
Once your child has done something to help someone else, they are most likely going to be feeling really good inside. When you ask them how they feel, they will be able to recognize their good feelings and will start connecting feeling good with doing good.
Make a commitment this week to talk to your kids about what they could do for someone else. See what ideas they come up with, and then help them figure out how to put into action one of their ideas. There are no limits to the potential that one small act of kindness can hold.