How I change the world

My rock star* friend M posted this on Facebook today:

“Anyone want to be crazy with me? How have you been changing the world?”

Before I share my reaction to this, I should say that this has been a terrible day. For no particular reason. Kids crying, fighting, whining, getting hurt, hungry, overtired, peeing on stuff, no-napping, all-out mess.

We’re doing just fine. My children are adorable and I love them, a big contractor job finished up today, and I even got my entire family to eat vegetables they usually don’t like for dinner (they were hidden in rice and drenched in soy sauce, but it TOTALLY counts). Still, this is not the day I’ll hold on to in my memory fondly for the next 20 years. As I tucked E into her bed tonight, I high-fived her on having made it through this stinker of a day.

So with that background, it might make sense when I tell you that my first reaction to this was despair. How am I supposed to change the world?! I can’t even keep up with changing diapers!

And then I took a breath. And decided that’s probably not fair. And then I remembered what Mother Theresa said (I think M might actually have this hanging in her house):

“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”

And while there is more to that story and at first it seems like you can’t do small things and expect to change the world, upon further reflection I think that the small things hold the seeds of the big things.

I don’t do anything perfectly. I am too imperfect for that. But I do things with all my heart, all my mind and all my strength.

So here are some ways I change the world:

I say what I mean, or as close to it as possible. This is amazingly hard work in American culture. It used to be very easy for me. Then I found out other people have feelings. More about that later.

I try to live graciously by assuming the best of people around me. More about that later too.

I think about food; where it comes from, how I can best cook it, how I can share it for the benefit of people around me. I make a lot of things from scratch because I feel like knowing how to make things is valuable information to have. Plus, if the zombie apocalypse happens, I can still make a lot of things for my family. Like mayonnaise. What’s a zombie apocalypse without mayonnaise? (Did I mention it’s been a loooong day?)

I think about where my stuff comes from. This isn’t always pretty, and sometimes it really stresses me out. I get why most people don’t think about that.

I think about where my stuff goes after it leaves me…this is less about a blind environmentalist agenda (which is what 15-year-old me would have accused, Captain Planet notwithstanding) and more about the simple fact that it feels irresponsible to just throw things ‘away’ over and over again for other people to deal with. We can do better.

I use cloth diapers.

I breastfeed. It’s going to make my kids smarter. Not smarter than yours, just…smarter. And healthier. And…well a lot of things.

I seek to live generously.

I think about my friends who are doing amazing things in the world, and I try to support them in a variety of ways. I try to make them famous in my house so that my kids will want to be like them, and see that there are many, many ways to make the world a better place.

I am raising intentional people who will engage the world in thoughtful ways that I haven’t even thought of yet.

What about you? How do you change the world?

*M is not actually a rock star. Figure of speech. She’s really cool and is one of the friends I talk about to my kids. But if she wanted to be a rock star, she definitely could. Because, you know, she’s a rock star like that. You can check her out here and here if you like.

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