The greatest mistake is to do nothing because you can only do a little.
~ Sydney Smith
Everything feels little in the face of the incredible tragedy in Haiti. I've chosen not to watch the news and only read a few headlines on the computer. I can't comprehend the magnitude of this tragedy and I don't know that looking at images is going to make it any more real than it already feels.
I've talked to the kids about the earthquake and how devastated it has left Port au Prince but we have decided at this point that that will be enough information for them. We want to leave them feeling empowered to help rather than overwhelmed.
And so we have been talking with friends and around the table about what we might be able to do to help. Donating cash seems to be the most appropriate response at the moment and we've already sent some to the Red Cross. But we also want to find a way to do something tangible as a family so we are floating up ideas:
~ a penny drive?
~ asking for donation for carrying bags at the market or shoveling snow?
~ some kind of craft sale?
~ organizing a valentine's family dance?
We've been in touch with the warehouse of a local charity where we have volunteered to see if there is anything we can do, perhaps packing boxes again like we did before Christmas.
I find that the hardest thing in supporting my kids through this kind of heartbreaking tragedy is finding the balance between giving them enough information so that they can reach out and protecting them and their sense of safety, and optimism, so that they don't become overwhelmed.
In the end I think that for them, like for me, it is important to know that even though our gestures feel small when compared to the scope of the situation, we aren't powerless and we can make a difference.
What comes from the heart, goes to the heart.
~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge