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Small Steps Can Change the World

Take a cue from a 7-year-old: Sometimes simple actions are all it takes to make a difference and change the world.

| June/July 2014

  • All kid, all the time, Jack Kruse was not too busy to take a stand for his own and his classmates' heatlh.
    Photo by Kym Kruse
  • Front-yard gardens and backyard chickens create true food security and a sense of accomplishment.
    Photo courtesy FarmCity Food Garden Construction
  • Energy-miser strategies, such as using this clever DIY “refrigerator” of cool sand and crockery, help make a difference. The accumulation of small acts grows into mountains of positive change.
    Photo by Kyle Chandler-Isacksen
  • Children gain lifelong skills and attitudes from working on a homestead — and baby goats are way more fun than video games.
    Photo courtesy Varney Family

Do you ever feel like the whole world is crazy and wonder what you and your lone voice can do to create real, positive change? Do you think about how to change the world via everyday actions? We’re all sometimes tempted to go into a corner and have a pity party because the insanity seems overwhelming and no one else seems to notice.

Before you give up hope, though, let me tell you about Jack, an Australian buddy of mine. Jack knows how to change the world. He’s 7 years old and lives in the province of Queensland. His parents own a small permaculture farmstead. They make their living by organizing and hosting educational seminars to acquaint farmers and ranchers in Australia with the best Earth-friendly production practices available on the planet. Jack’s parents are good people.

At school one day, Jack’s teacher created incentives in a new reading initiative by handing out lollipops to the highest achievers. An extremely bright boy, Jack earned his lollipop and then took a moment to look it over. Growing up in an Earth-aware, nutrition-focused, self-reliant family, he had doubts that this thing in his hand was something he should indulge in.

He took it home and asked his mom and dad whether the lollipop was OK to eat. His dad, being a wise man skilled in the Socratic method, responded simply, “What’s in it?” (Why couldn’t I be such a wise parent? His dad’s answer is non-judgmental and challenges the child to seek knowledge on his own. Brilliant.)

What ensued was Jack’s almost obsessive Internet search for lollipop ingredients. After he found those, he then searched for health benefits — or, as it turned out, harms — from those ingredients. To his horror and dismay, his research revealed that lollipops contain coloring and additives that could give him cancer.

A couple of days later, he went to the teacher — not his parents, mind you — and said, “I don’t want to eat something that could give me cancer. I don’t want this lollipop.” Taken aback, the judicious teacher responded, “OK, I won’t give you one. I’ll find another reward for you.”

K.C. Compton
5/21/2014 5:21:57 PM

Jack sounds like a good role model for all of us.

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