Much of this week people have either been flocking to, or hiding from, social media because of the heated political discussions. I’ve witnessed friends lost, family divided, and some heinous examples irrational ranting on Facebook this week.
Amid the hating, Facebook was also used for helping. Early this week I had a friend post to Facebook that she would like to do something to help out the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Our children were out of school on election day because so many of the schools in our district are used as polling locations. She had a brilliant brainchild: Set up a stand across from the school and catch the pollers as they leave to collect donations for the Red Cross. Several of us moms chimed in saying we’d bring hot chocolate, brownies, signs, and candy. We were excited to have something to do with our kids and to help out those who have been displaced and damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
We set up at about 10 am with high hopes of bringing in a couple hundred dollars to donate. The kids were hyped up, dancing, holding signs, and trying to sneak all the chocolatey treats for themselves. Then the rain started, and the temperature dropped. It was a little miserable, but there was magic about. People were stopping by… lots of them! We couldn’t give up! The kids kept dancing, the rain came and went and came again, and much to our surprise the cars kept stopping and the money was flowing harder than the rain.
A local newsreporter stopped by to take some pictures and to write up a story on our shenanigans. She too was impressed by the number of kids that were willing to stand out in the cold rain to collect money to help people they’d never met. You can read the article here: http://eureka-wildwood.patch.com/articles/elections-chocolate-red-cross-relief#photo-12071411
In the end, after 5 hours, we were able to raise a whopping $1867.83 with donations still coming!! I know that in the scope of a natural disaster this is chump change. But to the hearts of some young, but passionate, grade schoolers this was monumental. We were just some moms, with some kids that care, standing on a street corner with wet signs written in marker that was running from the rain.
On a day where most of the US was wrapped up in a bitter battle for the presidency there were many on the east coast who were struggling to keep their families warm, safe, and fed. We were out there for those people. There was an unspoken agreement that politics would not be discussed while we stood (and danced) in the rain collecting money.
The next morning I had a discussion with my kids when they woke up about how the election went the day before. Girl-Child was an outspoken supporter of Obama (because he has a pet dog in the White House – hey, I’ve heard worse reasoning for how people vote) and Boy-Child was hoping that Romney would pull out the win (mostly because Romney doesn’t smoke… at least they had reasons…) It was a nice moment to point out that this was indicitive of all Americans on Wednesday morning. About 50% were happy and about 50% were sad. I also explained that a lot of the fear and sadness stems from feeling like you have no control or power over what happens here in the U. S. A. but as we found out the day before, even a handful of kids with a good idea, some ingenuity, and a few homemade signs really can have some power and really can make a difference.
Not one of us is powerless. All of us are Americans, regardless of who is president, and all of us are responsible for what America “is” and what it stands for.
You can take to social media with hate and ugliness, or you can take to the streets with hopefulness, helpfulness, and love. I challenge you to do just that!