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Welcome to week 2 of Fasting Fridays. It has been a struggle to figure out when and where to post these articles. Forgive me while I’m finding my feet on this effort.
Today I’ve been thinking about procrastination. We all know there are things we ought to do to make an impact on the world around us, but the pressures of life mean that we put it off for another day, another week and another month. I get caught up in my own troubles and find I have little mind-space left over to think about the troubles of others.
But in a real sense, that is what we are here for. The impact that we have on the world is really the impact that we have on other people. And the key is empathy, to feel the pain of our brothers and sisters.
That is the core of Fasting Fridays. To empathize with those around us. But now, having empathy for those that are hungry or weak, what do we do with that energy?
Too many times, the answer is that we leave it at empathy. We don’t take the next action because it feels too heavy, it feels we can’t defeat this great monster with an army of 1 so we don’t even try. The thing is though, just one person taking an action is more like the first rocks rolling in an avalanche. The people you touch, the people you impact will continue to impact others until there is a great avalanche that nothing can withstand.
That brings me to the concept of action. Early in my entrepreneurial journey, I learned the lesson of imperfect action, the idea that even if an action is not perfect in its execution, any action (however tenuous) towards your goal starts you on a path to that final desired outcome. You are unlikely to have a perfect idea that is going to address world hunger tomorrow. But if you wait for that perfect idea, tomorrow may never come.
“And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many good things stored up, enough for many years; rest and relax, eat, drink and be merry’. But God said to him ‘You fool! This very night, your soul is required of you, and now who will own the things you have prepared’”Luke 12 : 19-20
There is no point in storing up riches for ourselves beyond what is reasonable for us to live. There is no point in leaving for tomorrow what we ought to do today. There is no point to living without impact thinking you will do it some day (when my kids have gone to college, when I’m married, when, I’m older, whatever the excuse is). Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. There is not one that knows when we will die.
So take action. Take a small action. Maybe for now, just donate to a cause. I’m planning to start a list of organizations that are doing good work. But don’t stop there. Keep advancing, giving money is only a first step. Put your hands to good work, continue the journey to living an authentic life full of purpose.
I leave you (those of you walking a faith journey) with this video of John Piper from earlier days. It is his famous “Seashells” speech. It is said that a whole generation of young people dedicated their lives to impact from hearing this one speech. May it have an impact on your heart.
Today has been the capstone to a rough week. Its been stressful and crazy and frankly a bit over the top. So much so that earlier this week, I had to just sit in my car and breathe after another round of things going wrong. Before I go on with my sob story, let me just say things got better at the end of the week, and I feel much better.
But perhaps because of that stress, I feel like I literally ran out of energy towards the mid day mark. I kept it going, into an AMA session hosted by a well known investor, and then, I just crashed. I had to go have a short lie-down. I felt my eyes were closing on me, and my brain felt like molasses. It’s like walking in the water, you feel like something is dragging you back.
As I went off to have my lie-down (only about 15 minutes, and one of the perks of being an entrepreneur), I started thinking about hunger. Specifically hunger in kids, specifically hunger as it affects school age kids.
Children who are malnourished are statistically more likely to underperform at schools. There are numerous studies that prove this correlation (NIH study : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6230243/). The Borgen project breaks it down into plain English :
Children experiencing hunger are more likely to have problems with memory and concentration because they do not have the energy to carry out these functions. Malnutrition can tamper with sleeping patterns as well, making a child too tired to get anything out of a full day of school. Additionally, the brain develops rapidly at a young age. Without the right nutrients, the brain cannot develop properly, resulting in long term effects on learning abilities.The Borgen Project
When we think about the cycle of poverty, we can understand that poor circumstances in childhood lead to malnutrition, which leads to reduced performance in schools, which leads to social and behavioral issues. This leads ultimately to unstable employment, and ultimately passes this cycle on to the next generation.
Not addressing malnutrition among the youngest and most vulnerable in society is dooming them to continue the cycles of injustice and poverty, and let’s be honest, disproportionately affects black and brown communities (not exclusively but disproportionately). Especially within the context of the pandemic, these cycles have been exacerbated by the twin impacts of economic loss and school closures (which are often the one place where a child is reliably able to obtain nutritious food).
Meals and snacks from schools or child care centers fulfill up to two thirds of children’s daily nutritional needs and are generally healthier than those brought from home. The short-term health effects of missed meals include fatigue and reduced immune response, which increase the risk of contracting communicable diseases. Even brief periods of food insecurity can cause long-term developmental, psychological, physical, and emotional harms. Children from low-income households, who are already at higher risk for poorer health and academic performance than children from high-income households, may be further disadvantaged by nutrition shortfalls.https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmp2005638
So as we spend some time in reflection and prayer, consider the weakest and most vulnerable among us, and let us think of ways we can address this need. Hunger is a world wide problem, but is especially inexcusable in the context of our developed and affluent society! My prayer is that in my time, I would see people stretch their hands and resources to eradicating this issue and I pray I would see us make a real dent, and feed the hungry.
Thanks for reading this far. We don’t have an agenda, we don’t really know where this will go, but we pray and start.
As with most things in life, that’s a way to get going. We’ll figure it out as we go along.
Walk with me :).