These are dark times. In our country and our world, we’re surrounded by divisiveness, greed, mean-spiritedness, hatred, cynicism, fear, and rage. So much so, the darkness sometimes threatens to cover us all in shadows.
That’s why we need to double down on goodness.
Each of us has that power. Even if we don’t remember that, it’s true. Our daily choices matter; our actions make a difference. For every time one person shows genuine kindness, compassion, honesty, or courage – that person shines a ray of light into the darkness.
And even in the darkest times… shadows quake and run away from the light.
Every single day, across this country and around the globe, people are doing things to lift the boat in which we all sail. And to lift our spirits in the process.
Look around, beneath the news headlines, and you’ll see examples of what I mean. Acts of kindness, hope, and heroism. Acts of real compassion – helping someone who was, until moments before, a stranger. Or real generosity – planting a tree that will someday provide beauty and clean air for future generations. Acts done not out of any desire for fame or glory or monetary gain…but out of genuine goodness.
There aren’t any limits to who can do these things. Even the youngest among us, kids of all backgrounds and descriptions, are stepping up to help!
Every day, kids raise money for cancer research, dig wells for clean drinking water in Africa, teach other kids how to read, and feed the hungry. They invent new ways to stop disease, deliver solar power, and help blind people live independently. They deliver vaccines to people in remote places, build sanctuaries for sea turtles and endangered birds, and help other kids who are at risk. They fight injustice, stop pollution in a nearby river, reduce gun violence, and plant community gardens.
I’m not making up these examples. They’re just a few of the many wonderful things done by recent winners of the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. These kids simply never got the memo that they are powerless or too young to help. They just went to work to build a better world for us all.
As these kids demonstrate, no one is too small or unimportant to do something helpful. Every one of us can make a difference. And when we do things that matter…it means that we, ourselves, matter.
Try it yourself today. Just choose a way you’d like to add a little goodness to the world. Give it freely to whatever lives you touch, whatever places you see, whatever causes you share.
Then double down on that goodness. In 2018, I plan to do just that by doubling the Barron Prize from $5,000 to $10,000 for each winner. My hope is that it sparks a wave of goodness and light around the world. And it all starts with you and me.
Whether or not you ever see the results, your actions will build bridges. Heal wounds. Renew hope. And yes, solve problems. You’ll be helping our world – chasing away shadows with your own remarkable light.
And if more people did that…imagine how bright that light would shine.
This entry originally appeared on The Huffington Post.