The winter session of Allies In Action is centered on impact and contribution. We have had group discussions about what they mean and shared personal examples. In the beginning of our conversations, students shared monetary contributions they have made to causes and organizations. A handful of them have already received awards for some of their work. (This is where I remind the reader that these are seven to eleven-year-old children…yeah, I know!)

They then shared fundraising drives they have participated in at school or in the community. Last year, Allies In Action partnered with the Geiger Montessori ASB for a hygiene drive benefitting people experiencing homelessness for the Metropolitan Development Council  (MDC), which we are doing again this month. Participating students were able to take a field trip to MDC, learn about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and assemble hygiene bags to be handed out.

After a long discussion, I asked, “How can you make an impact and contribute without money?”

(Insert a long pause in the room.)

When thinking about contribution money is thought of as the gateway to impact. Our daily impact on those we interact with don’t always involve money. We contribute to our surroundings with every single choice we make and carry out.

Hold that thought a little longer.

Every single choice we make is followed by an impact and contribution. Good. Bad. Right or wrong. How often are you conscious and intentional about these two things? And then reflect on the ripple effect you created?

We are ALWAYS at choice.

There is no escaping it.

The words we choose are a choice. Our silence is a choice. Indifference, inspiration, willingness to act, and decisions to blame others for our circumstances all derive from every choice we make. This is heavy, I know, just bear with me.

The biggest power we have is how we perceive and respond to circumstances and situations. Many of which are out of our control. What we do have control over is HOW we respond to and WHAT we do, as a result. In practice this becomes complicated and messy. Some people blame everything outside of themselves and resist any contribution to the situation. It is easier to deflect. Yet, cause and effect will always occur.

Are you living a life of an active participant or a regretful victim?

I am asking my students to become MORE CONSCIOUS. To be able to actively recognize how body language and the words we choose directly impact our environments. As well as be observant of where we can contribute and make an impact. In other words, I am guiding these children to be hyper-aware of their surroundings and the ways they interact with it. Like muscle building, our strength grows with repetition.

There is an exhausting, revolving list of issues needing our immediate attention. Instead of shutting down and becoming overwhelmed, choose to contribute. No matter how seemingly small or big. The most important thing to remember is that it is not up to us to judge the scale of impact our actions and inactions create. Decidedly taking a step is the most important choice we can make. Let history decide the rest.