One Million Ways, One Purpose: The Power of Generosity

Having worked as a camp counselor for two summers with 20 kids under the age of five, I have constantly been inspired by children (that is, when I was not ready to poke my eyes out from the screaming, kicking and crying that occurred everyday). Honestly though, while adults like to think we’re the smart ones, I think it’s children who can teach us a thing or two.
YouTube is always being used to find irrelevant videos, usually of people falling off ladders or performing a dangerous act that many find amusing, but recently I was inspired by a video called ‘One Million Ways.’
We all hear about random acts of kindness and tell ourselves to perform them. ‘One Million Ways’ takes this concept and expands it tenfold. A group of young children set out on a mission to perform ‘1,000 good deeds, 1,000 acts of kindness, 1,000 acts of beauty and 1,000 acts of love.’
They decided to make 1,000 paper cranes to represent their good deeds. One dollar would be given for each crane constructed so that the money would eventually be donated to a charity that helps kids in Columbia.
I was amazed at the determination of these children as well as their passion to make the world they live in a better place. Case in point, as expressed by one young volunteer: ‘Humans have a capacity to love. We have an unlimited form of love and if everybody in this world expressed that unfailing love to everybody else in the world, the world would be a better place.’
The video is part of OneMillionWays.org, a Web site where children can log their good deeds and, fortunately, that list is growing all the time, and not just in English.
‘Mi perrita se hizo pop y pipi y yo limpie todo.’ In other words, a little girl’s puppy went to the bathroom and she cleaned it up all by herself.
Even if they are not old enough to say it correctly (‘I broomed my mom’s new house’), and even if they are simple (‘I listened to my mom’), these children are doing their part to make the world a better place, and that definitely counts for something.
Naturally, this got me thinking about being a nicer person by offering compliments, lending a helping hand and cleaning (although, with my neurotic tendencies, this one is not that hard to do).
Clearly, the list can go on and on. For instance, it is easy to spot a trash can (which, for some reason is always closer than the recycling bin) and toss our plastic water bottle in it, to see someone drop their papers and not lend a helping hand or to drive to school when the walk is really not that strenuous.
But who says that the easiest way is the best way? As these kids have shown, a little bit goes a long way if everyone works together. If a group of motivated children can do this, who says college students or adults can’t either?
Our world today is a scary place, filled to the brim with hate and sadness. We sometimes think that as individuals, it is difficult to make a change, but the truth is, it all adds up.
If each person took the time to do one good deed each day, a chain can form and inspire others to do the same. One video is all it took for me, proving that these children accomplished their mission.
So I guess this is my way of attempting to do my part to make a difference and to hop on the kindness bandwagon.
They say kindness is contagious. Well, after watching ‘One Million Ways,’ I think I caught the bug.