Kids are often confused by the injustice they see in the world, and many of them have an impulse to do something about it. As responsible parents and engaged citizens, it’s our responsibility to support these big ideas by seizing, believing in and evangelizing our child’s BIG idea for a more just society.
This is something my wife Angie and I learned while helping our 6 year old-daughter, Maya, start The Cozy Collection. The Cozy Collection is a project that gathers donated socks and blankets for the homeless in the San Gabriel Valley.
So, what counts as a “BIG” idea?
A BIG idea is one that tackles a global challenge at the local level. Focusing on BIG ideas helps your kid understand the connections between the larger world and her community. Issues like poverty, access to water and jobs, clean energy and civil rights all have both local and global faces.
Listen for what excites and/or concerns your kid and then grab hold. Listening is passive but SEIZING AN IDEA requires a layer of attentiveness that prompts the listener (YOU) to ask questions.
The Cozy Collection was started after Maya noticed a homeless person at a freeway exit. She wanted to help by giving him the money she’d set aside for my birthday gift. Angie seized the moment and asked Maya what she might do that would have a greater impact than a one time gift. Maya decided she wanted to help the homeless stay warm during Winter and The Cozy Collection was founded.
Our kids will surprise us with their kindness and concern for others. Let’s seize that.
True belief is an act of both mind and body, faith and works. In order to give your kids’ big ideas some legs, you’ll have to provide the foundational support. C’mon, they’re just kids after all. You need to believe your work will have an impact. And you need to back that up with some action. So, your kid wants to start a project to clean up the pollution at his school. Now, it’s on you to put something together to keep the momentum. Don’t let it die with you, Dad. Who will you email? What goal can you set? What’s the deadline?
Our first order of business was to decide on a name and Maya jumped right in with The Cozy Collection. We found an organization that we could support with the donations, The Mercy House in Ontario and set a date for delivery.
We reached out to family, friends and local businesses. The Cozy Collection gathered over 1k pairs of socks in the first year, 3k pairs in the 2nd year and we’re hoping for 5k pairs this year. Don’t let doubt ruin this opportunity to have a life long service project with your family.
Tell people what your family is up to. They want to help. Let them surprise you. Start an FB page, attend parenting conferences, tell the local AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization), tell your kids’ principals and teachers, neighbors and businesses.
Open yourself up to the joy that a big idea can bring to your family.
This past September, Maya received the Claremont Community Hero Award at the LA County Fair. And now her 5 year old brother, Joaquin, has joined the effort.
Joy, joy, joy.
Join along by starting a service project with your family.
And if you’re interested and able to help The Cozy Collection exceed it’s goal of 5k pairs of socks in 2017, you can contribute HERE.