"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
The project: Hold a woman's cold, wet, howling, beautiful toddling boy so she could get a shower.
Time: 10 minutes
Why bother? Have YOU ever tried showering in a communal shower while tending to a baby? How about trying to bathe that baby when said shower is the only means of personal hygiene offered? Now add an incredibly dry, dusty, group camp setting, open-air shower and temps dipping into the 60s and you're in for a real treat.
This mom was doing her best, but the babe was clean, and the mom still needed her turn. She couldn't hold him and get herself clean, so she let him stand next to her. He was NOT pleased. He was COLD. And, insult above all insults, WATER was getting into his eyes! (Oh the INHUMANITY!)
I'd only managed to get my undergarments on before finally breaking down and chipping in, but I tend to be a pretty warm body, even in an open-air shower, still damp and in cooler temps. More importantly, however: I've been there.
I asked where his towel was. She pointed the way. I scooped him up and wrapped him, then stood within HIS arm's reach of his mom.
Worth it? Absolutely. He was still unhappy, but he wasn't so cold, and actually started to settle a bit once he started warming up all bundled in the towel. And if his mom was half as stinky and filthy as I was before hitting the shower, I'm CERTAIN she was happy for those moments to take care of herself!
Time: About half an hour? (We're camping. Who keeps track?)
Why bother? When we camp, Dad and I usually coordinate our menus. This trip, an aunt and uncle were also along. While we weren't able to get super coordinated with them ahead of time, our meal included plenty to feed the whole troop.
Worth it? Yes. It's just such a pleasant, social thing to share a meal. Coordinating the table was a bit of a stressor for me since our tiny table fits about 4, and I hadn't really thought that far ahead! But Dad pulled a table out of nowhere, and everyone contributed something to the meal, the table setting or the conversation.
We're headed out to Live Oak Music Festival today, so we'll report back early next week. Meanwhile, here's a video that might provide some inspiration.
The girls and I also gave flowers away for a day a couple of years ago. It's a VERY fun public service met with varying responses, but stick around and watch how the recipients' body language changes...it's wonderful!
The project: Teach fellow swimmers how to do flip turns (aka "the somersault thingy" swimmers do when they reach the walls and have to turn around)
Time: 15 minutes
Why bother? I was squeezing in a workout at the local pool. Two guys in the next lane waved me down and asked me to show them how. Why not?
Worth it? Yes. It was a fun distraction from the mundane workout I'd planned for myself. Sharing boosted my energy and made the rest of the workout more fun, and they continued practicing and cracking themselves up even after I left the pool.
While playing in a fantastic oak tree at an intersection where one country road diverges, three work trucks pulled up. Two workers crawled out of the cab of the first truck, grabbed their shovels and loaded into the second truck, consolidating the ridership and leaving the third truck behind.
Alas, in the parked truck, they left the headlights on.
I tried to turn off the headlights, but the truck was locked solidly.
Time: A few minutes
Why bother? It's a bummer to return to a vehicle with a dead battery, and ever so simple to just turn the lights off for someone - if they leave the doors unlocked.
Worth it? Unfortunately, no, because I couldn't achieve my goal! There was a time not so very long ago when people left not only their car doors unlocked, but their windows wide open. I've turned off COUNTLESS sets of headlights in my day. But our fear of having our things stolen from our vehicles, or the vehicles themselves taken, has made this simple effort to help a relic. Photo courtesy QFamily under Creative Commons License.
The project: Share my appreciation for both of my divorced parents' conscious decision not to bad mouth one another in front of their child, and help a new divorcee understand the importance of keeping it all above board when the kids are around.
Time: 20 minutes
Why bother? I was talking to a father who is currently going through the final throes of divorce. They have two kids, about 8 and 10 years old, so I got to thinking about my own parents who were divorced early in my childhood. While they really didn't care much for each other at all by the time they split, I don't recall ever hearing either of them saying an unkind word about the other during my childhood. Sure, there were trying times between them, but my parents did their best (and boy was it GOOD) not to talk trash about each other, even when the opportunity lay before them like a yellow-brick road.
It's too bad that so many couples don't last, and that my parents' circumstances weren't better. But I am thankful for the efforts they made - they did the best they could. I thought maybe if I shared this part of my story, this newly single father would remember someday if, in the heat of the moment, he considered trashing the children's mother within their earshot.
Worth it? Realizing how much effort parents put into their children comes somewhere around, oh, never. But certainly since I've had my own kids, and grown up a bit myself, I can certainly see it more clearly. Sharing the lessons they taught me through their actions - certainly worth it if my listener takes heed.