I learned a very long time ago that the ability to gain perpective on your situation is a crucial one. I have lost count of the number of times that I was able to get over a funk by spending time thinking about how whatever had me in said funk really, truly fit into the grand scheme of things. Most of the time it didn't even belong in the same universe as the grand scheme of things.
Since sometimes perspective can be a little hard to find, I thought I would offer up a little to all of my loyal readers. Matt and I have donated in the past to the Northwest Arkansas Children's Shelter. The NWACS provides temporary housing and respite care for abused and neglected children. We receive their newsletter, and got the newest one just the other day. Talk about perspective. Allow me to demonstrate:
- Think you have too much hard work in your life? The NWACS cared for 113 children in the last quarter. That's 113 children who have been deprived of love and basic care their entire lives. Many are terrified of adults. Most have been abused. Few have ever been played with, read to or hugged.
- Hate having to let people down? In the same last quarter, the shelter had to turn away 171 children. That means that around twice a day, a child desperately in need of help had to be turned away because of lack of space and funding. Where did that child end up? Where did all 171 end up?
- Sad that you don't have enough money for a vacation this year? On the shelter's list of most urgent supply needs: ponytail holders and children's swimsuits. Imagine a little boy who can't go swimming because he has nothing but a pair of old blue jeans, or a girl with tangly hair and no way to get it out of her eyes.
This post was not meant to make you feel miserable, believe it or not. However, if you aren't tearing up just a little, I do worry about you. The point of me bringing this up is that this is one of the few problems in our world that everyone can agree is horrible. It's not controversial, it's not up for debate--we have a responsibility to protect this country's children. And amazingly, it's doable! You don't have to be able to give thousands of dollars to help these kids. If you have children, just give some of their old clothes to the shelter. If you buy your baby 10 jars of strained peas, and she hates them, donate the other 9 jars! Every time you buy the value pack of toilet paper at Sam's, set aside 1 4-pack to donate. And when you buy your daughter a pack of ponytail holders, pick out the colors she'll never wear and send them on. It may just be a circle of elastic to you, but it's an exciting gift to a child who has never had a single thing to put in her hair.
I am putting together some items to donate to the shelter. If you want to help, let me know and I'll gladly come and get anything you want to donate. The shelter's website, www.nwacs.org, has got a more detailed list of their needs. If you don't live in NWA, I would be willing to bet there's a similar place in your area that could use your help just as much.
I can't promise that donating a few things to a children's shelter will change the world. To the kids who get the things you provide, though, you will be a hero. There's your perspective.