Danyelle mentions that her go-to outfit includes TOMS. Have you heard of these shoes? The company was started by a young man named Blake Mycoskie who, after meeting hundreds of kids without shoes in Argentina, decided to do something about it. Long story short, he ended up creating a company that donates one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. The first year of operation, Blake and his team went back to Argentina with 10,000 pairs of shoes. Reading that gives me chills (the good kind). Blake is a generous, energetic, fearless young man and you can read more about his adventures here.
Danyelle also says that she’s grateful that her mother taught her to serve others. She keeps the “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?” poster from Persimmon and Pink in her home as a reminder of her mother’s lessons.
This made me think of my own mom, who is the most service-minded person I know. Throughout my childhood, I remember Mom delivering diapers and food at all hours of the night, inviting a newly-arrived Somali woman and her daughter to our home for Thanksgiving dinner, and helping displaced Hmong families set up new lives. (I still get cravings for the spring rolls and chicken wings one family made for my high school graduation open house.) She worked with people with intellectual disabilities, provided foster care for a young girl, and served on the board of our little parochial school for years.
But the story that stands out the most for me is this. We had a bus stop near our house when I was growing up. One day a young woman was standing there holding a baby none too gently. She was yelling at the child, who was about 14 months old, and shaking her. My mom, who was working in the yard, saw that the situation was escalating so she went over to talk to the girl. She very gently started a conversation about how hard parenting can be, especially when a child is teething and fussing and just won’t stop. Mom asked if it would be okay if she shared a little trick that had worked on her own teething babies. She ran into the house and came back with a frozen waffle. The baby started chomping and calmed down and Mama calmed down, too. The bus came and off they went, feeling—I think—wrapped in grace.
We all have different ways of helping in the world. Some of us put together big fundraisers. Some of us sit in school hallways listening to children read. Some bake cakes for neighbors who are having a hard time. All are important and beautiful.
How about you? Who or what inspires you to make a difference?
As we grow older and realize more clearly the limitations of human happiness, we come to see that the only real and abiding pleasure in life is to give pleasure to other people.
P. G. Wodehouse