With so many obvious needs in the world around us, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with even the thought of trying to change the reality of the way things are. Add in the fact that we have these sweet little humans who already need so much of us -- it can all seem so daunting to add another commitment to the mix.
Perhaps making a difference in our world doesn’t need to mean volunteering hours of time in a ministry or an organization, but just keeping our eyes open to the people we come across every single day and the opportunities we have to be intentional in helping or encouraging them.
Have you heard the story of the young boy and the starfish? It’s a story that has been around for years, but I feel it never fails to hit the nail right on the head.
There was a boy walking along a beach, ahead of his family, when he came across hundreds and hundreds of starfish that had been washed up onto the shore after a big storm the night before. He felt so bad for the little creatures, knowing they wouldn’t survive past midday if they just stayed there. One by one, he began to pick up the starfish and toss them back into the ocean.
The boy’s older sister finally caught up to him as he had another starfish in his hand, shouting, “There are so many starfish out here! You aren’t going to make much of a difference!” The little boy looked down at the starfish in his hand, thought about his sister’s statement for a second, and tossed the starfish back into the ocean. He looked back at his sister, with a smile on his face, and told her, “It made a difference to that one!”
When we give from a pure place of simply wanting to make a difference in others’ lives, even the littlest gestures have the most profound purpose.
Below, we wanted to give you a few ideas that you and your kids can do together that’ll bring the big needs of the world down to living room size.
Everyone loves a little something that lets them know that they’re seen and known -- even if you don’t often interact with your neighbors, what better way to break the ice than with a drawing intentionally created by your child to give to someone who might not get a ton of day to day interaction! You could even add in an encouraging note written by you to tell them they are loved.
If you aren’t sure of women’s shelters in your area, you can always contact a local church or even other local mission groups who may have the connections you are looking for. Or, if you contact local prison ministries, you’ll often find that the women transitioning out of these facilities are in need of new clothing suitable for starting a new job and their return to day to day life.
There are so many organizations where you can sponsor children from various parts of the world who rely on the support of sponsors in order for many of their financial, physical, and social/emotional needs met on a regular basis. As a family, you can sponsor a child and build a long term relationship with them as you send letters and pictures back and forth. Or maybe you can’t commit to a sponsorship -- did you know you can still write letters to children who are waiting for a sponsor? On Compassion International’s website, you can see a list of children who have been waiting for nearly a year or more for a sponsor.
Maybe you like to go for walks as a family, or maybe your kids’ outdoor play time is the most solitude you get in a day. You could take some trash bags along and pick up trash in the park, or even encourage your kids to move leaves and sticks out of neighbors yards. Any little gesture to say, “I want to take care of you in some small way today!”
Regardless of how you decide to give or who you decide to give to, it’s these intentional, consistent choices that encourage little lives to look for chances to make a difference in tangible ways. At Wildly Co., we believe in you and know that you are making a huge difference in your everyday faithfulness.
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