collecting hope

My parental heart swells with pride. But more than that, my hope for this world is revived in this moment.

My son is not getting an award. He’s not starring in any big performance. He didn’t just graduate. This is a small act, really. Unnoticed and uncelebrated by anyone who might happen to see. Including my son.

He’s not pointing out his actions with the common, “Mom! Watch me!” that accompanies most acts children think are spectacular. Or the, “Did you see what I just did?” when they want to receive credit for what they have done.

And maybe that’s what made this all the more amazing to me. The fact that it was no big deal was a really big deal.

Because I, like most people, want this world to be a better place. But I am completely overwhelmed by the thought of making the whole world better.

And not just better on the outside, the tangible things we see, our behaviors. I want the world to be better from the inside out. Better because people care more. About the environment. About one another. About themselves.

Because change from the inside out – transformation – is a lasting change. This kind of change usually indicates a healing and making whole of damaged people.

So of course sometimes I feel a little hopeless. Because while I often see the incredible beauty in humanity, I also see the terrible brokenness of it. And sometimes I am crushed with despair.

Because I can’t put the world back together from it’s brokenness. So sometimes I doubt that it happens at all.

But when I see my nine-year-old son walk over to pick up a piece of trash on the ground that was not left by him and put it into a trash can, I celebrate. I do the happy dance.

I know. This is a small thing. But to me, it represents so much more. Because transformation is often revealed in small, changed habits.

As his parent, I am glad to see my son keep track of his own trash. To make sure what waste he creates he also takes responsibility for. That on it’s own is a win.

But the fact that he went outside of himself and picked up trash left by someone else and it was no big deal was ENORMOUS.

Not just as his parent, but as a fellow human being. Because he cares enough to do the little things that make this world better.

He wants the world to be a better place, too.

And he knows that starts with him.

And that gives me hope.

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10 thoughts on “collecting hope

  1. LOL!! YES! It is a WONDERFUL thing! I remember walking home with my son & friend after school on Earth Day this year, and they were both SO excited to pick up trash the whole way home (making a big deal of it, in contrast to Colby’s nonchalant tone here). Yes, when the teaching becomes automatic, or habit, it is a beautiful thing!

  2. 4x6daily says:

    it’s a lovely reflection of who he was raised by! 🙂

  3. Kathy Ondechek says:

    I absolutely love this with every fiber of my being…yes,yes,yes I say and amen!! It truly is the little things that make a BIG difference!
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. NicoleVP says:

    Funny timing in reading your post today . . . was thinking about doing random acts of kindness for the month of December and wanted to come up with something else for other months/ random times. The thought came to mind to create and carry around “business” cards that I could hand out to people when I see a good deed being done. It would open my eyes to all that is actually good around me and acknowledge and affirm the do-gooders. Thank your guy for the inspiration.

  5. Eiley says:

    Just lovely! And I also say “of course” because this is who I see Colby to be. It is a part of him to care about the little things that make a BIG difference. Oh how I hope “the romance” lasts!!! You have amazing boys who have come from amazing parents!

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