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Monday, June 30, 2014

Naivety & Cynicism: Finding a Balance.

I can remember sitting in some sort of church service when I was really young and hearing a missionary talk about starvation across the world.  Hearing statistic after statistic about kids who die from starvation made me incredibly sad, and I remember lying in bed that night wondering what could be done about it, when I had an incredibly idea.  What if everyone in the world boxed up our leftovers, then we could all send our food to the starving people so they wouldn't be hungry anymore.  The thought made me so happy, and I truly believed that at 7 years old, I had figured out a solution for world hunger.

As a child, that's just how I thought.  If enough people gave a homeless man money, he would save it and wouldn't have to beg for money anymore.  If I was nice to a friend that was sad, they wouldn't be sad anymore.  If I helped my friend clean her room, then her parents would be happy and they wouldn't get divorced anymore.  In the mind of 7 year old me, you could do something to fix anything.  Every problem had a solution.  That's just what I thought.

And then, I didn't.

Be the change you wish to see.  I don't think anyone accomplishes this better than children, without even knowing they're doing it.  As a kid, you just do what you want.  If you're tired of playing with one toy, you stop playing with it and get another. If you're tired of hanging out with someone, you call your mom to come get you.  If you don't like where something is, you move it.  Due to innocence and naivety, you don't worry that something may go wrong, that it may not work, that other people may think less of you.  You just recognize that you want something to be different, and you do something about it. You come up with solutions to problems--both your own and others--and act on those ideas.  Why?  Just because.

And then, you don't.

Somewhere along the way innocence is replaced with knowledge, optimism for realistic expectations.  You realize that you can't fix everything, so you decide to stop trying.

A box of leftovers isn't going to stop world hunger, but you know what might?  A group of adults who choose to think like the kid-version of themselves every now and then.  People who look at a problem and don't think about how big it is, but instead think about what they can do about it.  People who know it may be naive to try to change things, but who choose to try anyway.

Can you imagine how full of life you would feel if that's the way you chose to look at the world?


  1. You manage to blow me away, every time. LOVE this. Children's innocence is one of the best things about life.

  2. YES! love this! i kinda needed this today. thanks, friend!

  3. This post just tugged at my heartstrings. That's ultimately why I want to teach young children. When I decided to study education, my dad, who was confused why I wouldn't want to teach high school English, said, "I just think it'd be sad to waste your passion for reading and writing- and your sense of humor..." However, my response was similar to your post: kids become jaded young adults. As much as I hate it, it's so true. No one is less inhibited and more accepting than a child. Love a good reminder to live optimistically!

  4. You do what you can. You live purposefully. Not hopelessly. Love this!

  5. I think it is so important to not be jaded by the reality of the world. Yes, some people take advantage, some people buy booze with the money you give them. However the act you perform says that there is kindness out there, you can make a difference, and maybe it might not change the person you helped but it might change the person standing next to them that saw it.

  6. this is such a sweet post. i need to work on this for sure. i know i was so much more gung-ho for change when i was younger so i need to just actually do the things i say i want to do!


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