What Can I Do?
Do you ever walk through the day and feel burdened by the brokenness of the world? To be candid, I find that much of the time I default to thinking about the brokenness of MY world only: the flat tire, the computer glitch, the traffic signal that keeps me waiting a full five minutes leaving my subdivision. From the perspective of the average person on this planet, my "first world problems" must sounds crazy because I'm frustrated with my car, computer, and neighborhood. Those are conveniences that easily put me in the category of "rich" by the whole world's standards, and yet I still complain. However, every now and then I hear or see something that startles me back into a more proper reality.
Last week, I was boarding a plane, and a "kid" heading off to boot camp was in line behind me. He struck up a conversation with another person in line, and they started to talk about why he had decided to join the military. The line was SUPER slow so I overheard much of this guy's story. He described himself as a "crack baby" who had a strung-out mother, and he didn't know his father. He never "took to" school, but the idea of a military life appealed to him because it would give him structure, consistency, and "I don't mind serving the country." I was impressed by this guy's self-awareness and his desire to strive for a better life.
Boy... did my recent complaints about my chances for an upgrade feel petty in that moment.
So, in that instant, I had a flash of empathy, but I didn't feel like I had any way to turn that into a good, lasting, practical response. I find that it's positive to lean into those "smack-upside-the-head" moments and allow them to produce insights and growth. Still, what could I do? How could I help? I'm pretty sure turning around and hugging this kid wasn't going to solve anything (although I REALLY wanted to do that!), but I wasn't sure where to start.
Then, I saw a tweet by Donald Miller over the weekend about the Mentoring Project. I've been tracking with this organization for some time and am impressed by their goal to provide fatherless boys with mentors. The strategy isn't to throw money at a problem, but to give kids hope through the context of a relationship.
Great idea. However, what is an even better idea is their decision to link their mentoring initiative with Father's Day. I love the idea of celebrating fathers by supporting those who desperately need a dad. When you give to this organization, the organization acknowledges the donation with a letter PLUS a gift for your dad.
Here's a video that explains the whole thing.
So if you don't know what to buy your dad (and don't want to bounce him UH-nother tie or bottle of Aqua Velva), think about this worthy cause.
I wonder how the kid in the jetway would have been impacted if he had been paired with a mentor. Imagine the growth.
Take a second to imagine today's generation of fatherless boys who are NOT abandoned, but mentored by another man who cares...and all of the potential that lays before him. You gift can help make that happen.
Just don't buy the tie.