Thursday, September 11, 2008

Life Lessons from a Fourth Grader

Seen the news today, or yesterday, or last year, or seven years ago? Bad things happen. And they happen to good people too. Seven years ago today, my world was rocked, and not in a good way. We were reading morning scriptures with our kids when my mom-in-law called and told us to turn the news on. I have to admit I was hard pressed to pull myself away from the television and life came to a standstill as I watched with horror the aftermath of the World Trade Center Disasters. September the 11th is to this generation, what I think December the 7th was to our grandparent’s lives. And it affected everyone whether we knew someone personally involved or not.

I would get my kids off to school and then worry about terrorists blowing them up there. The streets and skies were eerily quiet and there was only one thing on people’s minds. ‘What kind of a world do we live in and what does the future hold for our kids?’

My (then) fourth grade son Abner helped me refocus on all that is right with the world. Within a day he helped draft a letter asking his Principle if he could ask the students at the school to help raise money to help the firefighters and rescue people associated with the tragedy.

The Principle agreed and he put canning jars in every classroom with this picture on them asking students to bring cold lunches and donate the money or change they would have spent on hot lunches so we could help people affected by the attack. Loose change started flooding in and within a week those little elementary school kids had donated close to $2,000. We then took the money to a bank which was matching the funds and donated it all to the Red Cross.

So what did this fourth grader teach me? One person can make a difference and make the world a better place. That person can be me, you, or even a little fourth grade boy.

Too often when I see the news and see enormous disasters in some foreign lands, I find myself trying not to care. It’s easy to overlook how many people’s lives have been snuffed out or families have been broken. I think I’m desensitized to it all a little bit. So how can I help people so far away that I don’t really even know?

First, I try to care. Whenever I remember or especially if something happened recently I try to give a few bucks to the Humanitarian Fund my church has set up. I know there are so many good organizations out there that contribute as well. If everyone just gave a little it would add up big time. Those little grade-schoolers taught me this. I’m not going to sell my home and live out of our tank and donate it all but I will donate something.

I participate in races that raise money for good causes. I donate time to help out. In the case of a sweet Sadie an angel going through brain cancer our family is donating 1,000 deeds of service. I know it's not much but the world will be a better place because of her.

Sometimes I just have to try. I probably don’t make that much of a difference like yesterday I didn’t make any difference. But I did try to donate blood for the first time in 4 years. They want my blood since its O-neg. And they keep calling and I keep meaning to go. Yesterday I went only to find out my iron was too low and I couldn’t help after all. So I’m upping the iron supplements so that I can probably try and again in a month or so. And I will try, because that’s the key. Not giving up.

And when I don’t have the funds, or blood or physical time to help someone out I do what I think helps the most. I pray. Because I believe there’s only one person who can really heal the wounds the world has inflicted on itself, or give peace to those who need comforting or are going through tough times. I’ve seen many miracles in my life because of the prayers of so many others.

I hope this post doesn’t sound like I’m some charitable all-knowing angel and I’m patting myself on the back because I’m thinking I’m all that and more. Heavens No – I know I’ve got a long way to go and a lot to learn and by-hoot I want to make a difference and really help other people but I’m only going to do it a little bit at a time. Because my son taught me that a little goes a long way.

1 comment:

Terri said...

Thanks. Thanks for making me stop, take a second to realize that every little bit DOES help!! What an amazing little boy you have! Great job on raising the money!