“Go make the world a better place, Mommy!” That is what my 6-year-old recently started yelling back at me every weekday morning as she runs to the bus.
To be honest, the first time she said it, I kind of laughed it off. Where in the world did that child get something like that? I mean don’t get me wrong, every day I send her off with encouraging words reminding her to do her best, rock the day and smile. But never have I challenged her to make the world a better place.
So badly, I have wanted to question where she got that from. She had to have heard it somewhere. But every time she says it, she is half way to the bus before she gets it out and I don’t have a chance to ask.
Plus, I started to really like hearing it every morning and I was afraid if I questioned it that it could make her uncomfortable about saying it and she would stop. Or you know, like when you tell someone you really like when they do something and then every time they do it you wonder if they really just did it because you said you liked it?
No, this is just innocent and pure — my sweet Maylie girl encouragement — and I want it to stay that way.
But, surprise surprise, my overactive brain started to ask myself why my little girl felt the need to invite me daily to make the world a better place. I mean, it’s a big world out there! What am I to do to make a difference, to make it better?
Besides, this mama barely has time to shower. Did my girl really think I had time to make this world a better place? Truly, I am just trying to get to work (close to) on time, do my best there then come home and make it through dinner, baths and bedtime so I can go to bed and do it all again tomorrow.
But, that’s just it, tomorrow is the same thing — wash, rinse, repeat. Day in and day out. And I had been grasping at the very tail end of just getting through each and every day. I hadn’t stopped and looked around at how I could make the world a better place. I was just trying not to get swallowed up by the world around me.
Funny thing though, each time my precious girl reminded me to make the world a better place, I thought more and more about it. Each moment passes as quickly as it arrives, the days come and go in a blur, if I let them. Selfishly, all I had been doing was seeking out my own survival. Me and mine — make it through.
But would it hurt me to slow down and take a look around?
In my head, I started a “make the world a better place” project. Who can I smile at today? Did you like her hair? Tell her! Hold that door even if he is four steps behind.
No, I didn’t start a monumental campaign toward ending war or violence or abuse. I mean, truly, at this point in my life, I really do not have time for that. But I realized I can take the time I do have and add a little bit of kindness.
And most importantly, I can share my experiences and lessons learned with my girls, the next generation in this world. Mommy made someone feel good today when I smiled at them. Who were you kind to today? What should we do tomorrow to add joy to someone’s life?
Maylie told me about the new girl on her bus who was really shy. She said she told that girl that it was OK to be shy, that she would be her friend and, when she was ready to talk, she would be there to listen. And my heart swelled with pride as I listened to how my kindhearted baby girl just made that little girl’s world a better place.
Because that is what it is about. Most of us will never lead a revolution, be taught about in history class or ordained as a saint. But that does not mean that we cannot make the world around us a little better.
Look, the time is going to pass anyway. The footsteps, the motions, the grind — it is happening no matter what. There is no escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
But I challenge you — actually my 6-year-old challenges you — every day to stop, look around and find a way to make this world a better place.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.