“You can be part of the problem or part of the solution.”
-Norm Murphy (my Dad) – I’m sure that someone much more famous said it originally and I am probably plagiarizing them right now but as far as I’m concerned I grew up hearing this from my Dad.
On Friday, I had the opportunity to experience We Day in Toronto. For those of you unfamiliar with We Days, they are events held in different cities by the people associated with Me to We and Free The Children. They are a combination of motivation, inspiration and reward for service for young people. You cannot buy a ticket. You must earn your way in by community service.
To set the scene, imagine 20,000 screaming, excited, highly motivated young people filling the Air Canada Center. And who are they screaming for – Brittany Spears, Justin Beiber, Miley Cyrus – no. They are screaming for Craig and Marc Keilburger, Chris Hadfield, Spencer West, Darren Criss (Glee cast member who does a lot of charity work on the side and always has).
And what are they being told. That they are “the Generation that we have been waiting for”, “they are the Generation that will be the change”, “they are the Generation that fight injustice and make the world better”. They are told not to just sit back and accept the status quo. If they see something that is wrong, then it is up to them – it is expected of them- that they will make it right. They are told not to stop just because someone is telling them that something can’t be done but to instead figure out HOW to do it – how to make a change.
Craig Keilburger started Free The Children with a small group of 12 year olds holding meetings in his parents’ house. Now he has thousands of kids hanging on his every word believing that they can make a difference. Surely if a bunch of kids can have enough faith in themselves to make the world a better place for everyone, can we not, as adults, take the same stance and work together to make a change that will benefit those same children.
I know that this is not going to be a “one time” event taking the shoes to Ottawa. I know that this is going to be my life’s work, for however long I can manage. But I also firmly believe that The Empty Shoe Project is a worthwhile cause. This is life and death. This is about human suffering. This is necessary and I for one am choosing to be part of the solution. It’s time to make your choice.