Wednesday, February 17

Red Tape is a State of Mind

Rarely a day goes by where I'm not amazed by something a child has done. Be it my daughter not throwing a tantrum over something she usually deems fit-worthy (sing it with me: 'she's growing up right before our eyes') or the simple act of a toddler giving a crying playmate a hug to make everything all right: children amaze me.

I know, I know it's not revolutionary thinking but honestly, I never noticed how amazing they are when I was a selfish singleton in the sea of Bridget Joneses.

But now that I've had my eyes opened by the ankle-biting set I wish I could capture their enthusiasm and determination to just do the 'right thing'. Scratch that: I wish WE could capture their enthusiasm and determination to just do the 'right thing'.

So often adults just see the bureaucracy, red tape, and all the exhausting obstacles and plum just give up before getting started. Hey, I'm not pointing fingers, I've worked for the government and the private sector and have had the rah-rah-sis-boom-ba sucked right out of me.

Case in point: I worked for a large corporation and my team asked me to represent the group on the charity committee for the year. I was honoured and really excited to get things done. Then I sat in meeting after meeting trying to get just one thing done; one thing that barely happened. We ran into walls built of 'well if our team doesn't get top exposure, we won't participate' and 'we must appease this group's demands or they won't provide funding/support' mumbo jumbo and it smashed my enthusiasm.

What ever happened to focusing on the task of raising funds instead of concentrating on grooming egos? Who cares who's name is boldest on the poster? Would people feel all warm and fuzzy if they knew it took twelve well-educated, certified up the ying-yang knobs six months just to agree to hold a bake-sale in the office lobby?

It is a child's naiveté about navigating the sea of bureaucracy and corporate exposure that reminds me that to get from A to B just requires a straight line.

When the earthquake and aftermath happened in Haiti a few weeks ago, a nine-year old girl walked into the principals office at my daughter's school and said 'we must do something.' Together with the principal they rounded up 300 small envelopes and printed up 300 labels that said 'Change for Haiti'. These labels went on the envelopes and she made sure that each child brought one home that Friday afternoon with a note explaining why.

The following week she had raised over two-thousand dollars and didn't expect a word of thanks. She just wanted to make sure that the people of Haiti received the funds. And they did.

Helping others also means checking your ego at the door and children just seem to know that. We have so much to learn from them *sigh*


Katie, aka motherbumper, blogs at The Bad Moms Club by day and fights crime at night. Not really but she thought it sounded better than doing laundry. She also has a personal blog called motherbumper where she sometimes posts but not as often as she should.

Posted via web from Mommy Movement


WarsawMommy said...

What a great post - and so true.

I have also been discouraged and overwhelmed when a great idea gets all bogged down in minutae and egos... I love how kids just see soemthing that needs to be done, and they do it - because it's the right thing to do.

May we all remind ourselves to do stuff - good stuff - just for the sake of doing it. Imagine what our world would be like then!

mapsgirl said...

This is an excellent post. I too wish adult could just do things because it's the right thing to do.

mamatulip said...

This post gave me little goosebumps.

Ouidad Blog said...

I am always amazed at how big children's hearts can be. I actually wonder if we're doing the right thing when we teach them about "saving" money and suggest that only a portion of their allowance can go to charity. (They want to donate the whole thing every week!) Lots to think about. Thank you for this post.

Magpie said...

My kid's school wouldn't have allowed it - because "if we let one person do it, we have to let them all do it" which just sounds like baloney to me.