My eleven-year-old daughter, Lilly, just formed a “Save the Worms Society” at her school. She is beyond excited about this and fully believes this will be a world-wide organization someday. In any case, it is big news in our house. It is moments like these, watching my daughter, full of enthusiasm and hope, which make me feel as if anything is possible.
Please allow me to brag. Lilly is a happy, healthy, beautiful child. She excels in everything she does. She has had the highest grades in her class every semester since she started school. She has worked her way up through the ranks of her Tae Kwon Do class and is now a brown belt who is frequently called upon to lead the rest of her class. She is artistic and has even won a few art contests with her drawings. She is well-mannered, well-behaved, and in many ways, quite mature for her age. All of this pleases me, but it is not what makes her special.
What sets Lilly apart from the crowd is that she has an unrivaled enthusiasm about her, and she uses her passion to try to make her world a better place. The worm project is but one example of this. You see, some children in her class were “picking on” the worms one day on the school playground. It seems these little worm bullies did not have a good understanding of how worms would like to be treated. These hoodlums handled the worms roughly, and Lilly feared for their safety. She gave the children a good scolding and did her best to convince them that worms should be treated with respect and compassion, but she did not think this was enough. What if other worms in other places had no one to protect and defend them? So, she gathered together a small band of believers and started the “Save the Worms” society, complete with rules, regulations, standards of worm care, and a pledge to treat worms everywhere with the kindness they so richly deserve. But she did not stop there. Once she was home, she called a few friends at other schools to encourage them to start their own worm societies in their own schools. She is 100% convinced that this will happen, too.
Perhaps I am blinded by my love for my child, but it seems to me that few eleven-year-olds would go to the trouble of creating a movement to secure the safety of these poor, unfortunate, misunderstood worms. That is what makes her special. That is what sets her apart. She sees a need and she does not hesitate to believe that it can be taken care of. She sees no barriers to her dreams, and her spirit soars with the hope that she can mold the world into what she wants it to be. I know the world can be a cruel place, and many plans never reach fruition, but I hope she never loses her enthusiasm and determination to make a difference.
On days I feel like all my efforts are for naught, I think especially hard about my Lilly and the joy she has for life. I think about her love for all living creatures. I think about her compassion and her will to do good works without any sense of discouragement. She motivates me and makes me feel that I can take on the world, too.