"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!" - Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine
Beyond helping my family with everyday projects, chores and providing attention as needed, I didn't do any charitable deeds today. In fact, I don't think we even left our property.
I do have a confession to make. This seems like as good a time as any.
I feel sometimes like my efforts are pointless. They've been insignificant gestures, really. These deeds have been just too minor, and my efforts to do larger deeds haven't been that successful. (See the earlier hopes for a Pajama Project event.)
I had hoped that, by doing good for others, those folks might pass on the sentiment to others. Not to ME, just whoever stepped into their lives next, or in need of some help they could provide. But I'm not even making a difference in my own neighborhood. We've picked up trash only to find the streets and sidewalks and park littered again the next day. We've taken out neighbors' trash cans, brought them back in, picked up their newspapers when they're away, all unbidden. It shouldn't matter that they don't know who's doing this for them. It shouldn't even matter that someone HAS done this for them. But when we go out of town for a day or three, do they even bother to toss our newspapers toward the front door? No. Our papers lay in the driveway or on the front lawn or wherever they may fall, soaking up dew and sprinkler spit, announcing our home's vacancy, until our return. How long would they let this go on? (Hmmm...I feel a sociology experiment coming on.) I know I shouldn't expect much, if anything, from others; that if I WANT someone to pick up my papers while we're away, I should just ask. But the newspaper detail is one that completely skips my mind as I pack for a family of four and head out the door, so I never THINK to ask a neighbor. And I ALLOW myself to be disappointed when I see the collection in the front yard.
I know that. I'll work on it. But today I did for my family, with my family.
Sure, I collected my recycling in their proper bins, turned off unnecessary lights, kept water consumption low. But there were no gestures to outsiders, no door opening for strangers, no trash pick up outside our own place.
Today my daughters counted their coins stashed over the past year in a shared bank. I helped them roll (those darn paper sleeves are always a challenge for tiny fingers), then delivered them to the credit union for them. The credit union was strangely swamped for a midday Friday, so I took pity on the teller who was attempting to properly label each coin tube and chipped in. Usually, they don't let customers handle the money once its been handed over, and, when I offered to help, I saw her weighing her options before she caved and let me chip in.
Rolling - 20 minutes; driving to bank - 25 minutes; waiting for teller, and helping her - 15 minutes.
The girls' home stash had grown sizable enough to transport, and I was headed that direction for an appointment anyway. Plus, we homeschool, so all this coin identification, counting and related money math counts! :) Since their dad was off work for the day, I ran the deposit for them rather than have them face an unnecessary hour ride there and back. As for why I helped the teller who is, after all, paid to help customers - sometimes pay just isn't enough. A little help from friends and strangers feels good.
Yes: the cash is stashed safely; the girls enjoyed some extra time home with Daddy; the teller didn't crack under the pressure of too many customers and not enough help to serve the sudden rush.
Tour permaculture training program, and help spread the word about the relatively new venture.
While working on my next book, I learned about Quail Springs Learning Oasis & Permaculture Farm, a unique endeavor to provide a learning grounds for people interested in acquiring hands-on training involving living symbiotically with the land. Today the girls and I toured it to help spread the word.
It's a very interesting place full of people we found quite friendly and welcoming. Their living environment feels healthy and relaxed. If more of us could feel so relaxed and healthy in our homes, I believe the world would be a better place. Perhaps by helping to spread the word, Quail Springs will continue to fulfill its own 200-year plan of creating a sustainable community.
Cuddle on the couch and read for hours to my children.
3-4 hours (who was counting?)
Today we were the recipients of a charitable deed. A friend who won't be teaching again next year is cleaning out her classroom. She invited the girls in to select as many books as they'd like from her shelves. The girls brought home two grocery bags full, and set straight to work.
I LOOOOOOVE cuddling with my kids, a good book in hand, and no pressure to head off anywhere anytime soon. Wonderful day. And thanks, S, for the books. The girls clearly were thrilled. :)