Guest Posts

Help a Child, Change the World

"We reaized we weren't just volunteering for our daughter. We were volunteering for all her friends."

Author and blogger Addie Zierman is running an excellent guest-post series on her How to Talk Evangelical blog titled One Small Change.

In the Summer of 2013, we began a community project here at the blog

“I want to change the world,” I wrote, “but I’m up to my eyeballs in shoulds in my own regular life. I’m overwhelmed, already, by my daily failures as a parent and a person.”

And as you commented, we found that so many of us felt that way — overwhelmed by the pain of the world, debilitated by our own feelings of inadequacy.

So invited you to share small doable changes that you’re making in you life. Because I found that when I figured out that I could actually do one small thing, I felt empowered to do other small things…and that in the end, this is how the world is changed. Regular people doing small, regular things.

My contribution, titled “Help a Child, Change the World” is online today at How to Talk Evangelical.

This story begins with our daughter, Anna. When she started Kindergarten, we wanted to volunteer in her school. We were only two of a handful of parents who were able to step forward, and yet before long we realized that we weren’t just helping our daughter, we were helping all her classmates as well.

And many of them really needed our help.

We’re not well off by any means, but we’re not poor either. Like most American families, we get by from paycheck to paycheck, we struggle with debt, and while we hope to buy a house someday, we’re not quite sure how we’ll ever come up with a realistic down payment.

In other words, we’re average. But we soon found out that our neighborhood school wasn’t. It was the fourth poorest in the district.

On the first field trip of the school year, we traveled to a local farm to pick apples, collect pumpkins, and sample fresh pressed cider. As our visit drew to a close, we gathered our group of five kids (Anna included) at a picnic table for lunch. A girl opened her sack lunch and began fidgeting with her bagel and cream cheese package. She seemed perplexed.

“You need a hand?” Julia asked.

The girl nodded and handed her the bagel and cream cheese.

“No knife, huh?”

The girl shook her head.

“That’s okay, we’ll figure this out.” Julia separated the bagel, opened the cream cheese, and quickly arrived at a solution. She tore off a small piece of bagel and used it as a knife, scooping out a dollop of cream cheese and spreading it over the other half.

Suddenly, the three other kids thrust their bagels at Julia with a chorus of “Please!”

They all had the exact same sack lunch, provided by the cafeteria for kids on the free lunch program. Every one but Anna.  That day we realized we weren’t just volunteering for our daughter, we were volunteering for all her friends.

Read the rest, along with other One Small Change posts, at How to Talk Evangelical.

One Small Change. Practicing Justice in Everyday Life.

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