I’m a mother. My boys, Ethan and Cameron, are happy and healthy enough to roll their eyes at me sarcastically or make cracks about “my generation” consistently. At 12 and 14, they are the kind of kids you probably would imagine them to be and likely much the same as many of yours: Precocious, charming, moody and funny. They’ve had a great life.
Case in point: I’m a travel writer so when they were 6 and 8 their dad and I pulled them out of school for a year and hopped across the globe with them. By the time we were done they had seen 29 countries on six continents and that didn’t even include the countries they’d visited before we left on that big trip or the ones they’ve seen since.
Travel is as natural to them as taking the school bus or visiting grandma’s house. We did that on purpose.
We wanted them to grow up knowing with certainty that whatever interesting things were happening in their house, schoolyard or neighbourhood was a drop in the bucket in comparison to the infinite possibilities of experience awaiting them in the world.
Our travels together have allowed my kids to grow in new ways simply by exposing them to things they couldn’t have eaten, experienced or seen had we been home. But the gifts that our travels have given us go beyond our “good fortune” to be able to snap family photos in front of the Eiffel tower or climb the pyramids.
Those trips abroad did something much more important: They opened our eyes to the privileges we have just because of where we were born; things that we take for granted – like clean water and health care.
I won’t inundate you with the tales of woe that we have encountered as we travel. I know that we all see the images so often on television and the news that we can become desensitized to them. But, I will ask you to remember that you are becoming desensitized to a problem that actually needs our attention to get better.
It’s why I didn’t hesitate to accept the chance to work with the UN Foundation on their new Blogger Advisory Council. Their goal is to raise awareness and to use our voices to affect change.
It means that your help isn’t dependent on the size of cheque you write. That’s a good thing.
I’m not wealthy. As a freelancer I spend half of my days chasing invoices and hoping for cheques to arrive. And when they do there always seem to be bills to pay and school lunch forms that need money attached. I bet that many of you are in the same boat.
What I love about what we do at Shot@Life is that we raise awareness. We educate a public that often feels it can’t make a difference and show them how simply they can.
Sometimes it’s as easy as a Retweet on a post – as we did during Blogust.
Sometimes it’s by choosing where you get your flu shot.
All of that awareness makes a difference. It leads to pressure on the government to do its part. It forces corporations to make better choices.
It’s a small step with a big effect on kids who are dying from the very ailments our kids rarely have to bat an eyelash about including diarrhea, polio and measles.
This month, I’m asking you to take a moment to do something. Share this post. Read some literature. Get your flu shot. Join us to raise money for polio. Do something. Do anything.
Then tell someone you’ve done it and show them how they can do something too.
So much that is happening in the world – from the election to the war – can feel out of reach.
Saving the lives of children around the world doesn’t have to.
Do it because you can. Do it because our kids have the simple luxuries that they do.
Do it so that mothers all around the world will have children grow up to be sarcastic and moody and funny and exasperating, just like ours.
Join me on October 12 when I’ll be taking over the Shot@Life twitter account (@ShotatLife) to share some facts, stats and ideas for ways you can make a difference this month.