I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how important it is for kids to not just have hope but to know what is even possible because that is where hope starts.
In 2012 when Daegan and I were nearly at the end of a 1500 km ride to promote kindness to others, we were passing through a small New York village. On a quiet side street a boy of about twelve rode up on his little bike and started talking to us, asking where we were from and what we were doing. We told him we had come from Canada and were going to New York City, still about 150 miles away.
He got really excited and talked about how his mom and dad had divorced and his dad moved to North Carolina – over 500 miles away. Once he heard we had come that far on a bike he started planning his own trip. He could ride his bike and his mom and sister could ride in the car. And then he could do it by himself.
Since then I have felt really sad about that moment. It was a glimpse into this boy’s difficult life and wishes to make it different. But he was only twelve. What could he do? He was stuck there.
But now I am asking myself: what possibilities were revealed to me at his age that gave me the hope and inspiration I needed to get to this future. I know a few: a cousin who went to university, other family members who moved to the city and started a new life. And at twelve it could have seemed impossible. But instead it became the guiding light that I could follow. Without an idea of what was possible, how could I even try?
Today I realized that that kid is now an adult. He’s old enough to strap panniers on his bike and take himself to see his dad. Or go to university, or write a story.
And as I get older I realise that these seeds don’t just get planted as kids and come to fruition a few years later. People keep planting them their whole lives.
What seeds are you growing for yourself? Whatever they are, don’t forget to water them now and again. And don’t get discouraged if they don’t sprout right away. Some of them take decades to grow.