The Power Of One

Over the past few weeks, friends and neighbors embarked on a journey to help relocated Syrian families get back on their feet. This effort, led by my friend Rana, is intended to go the extra mile, with a  holistic approach to help. It’s not just about providing immediate necessities, but also teaching the families tools that will enable them to rebuild their lives. Last week, Rana decided to introduce the families to the public library, a place that not only has books, but tons of other resources to serve the community they now belong to.

A couple of days before the library meeting, our kids prepared some Hallothumb_DSCN2290_1024ween bags to give to each of the children. We made an enormous mess cutting stickers, gluing stuff to the floor, and drawing on about everything that came in sight. But none of that mattered, nobody got mad. We felt good about what we were doing and we knew that we were sharing a special moment. Even we, grumpy moms agreed!

On the day, of the library visit,  we had assigned ourselves the mission to help the families register to, and navigate the place. Our kids were tasked with giving candy bags and distribute books to the children.

We all had a job to do, but we didn’t work. Not one of us. Because none of it fell like a task, an assignment. It was sheer pleasure and pure reward. We connected, we made friends, we hugged, we laughed. And more importantly, we learnt many life lessons from the very people we came to help. At the end of the afternoon, it wasn’t clear who was helping whom. I think it’s fair to say we were all helping one another.

This is what the Power Of One is about. We all have the ability to bring life changing moments. We don’t have to be powerful, rich or grown-ups to make a difference. We are not expected to cure the world of all its illnesses, to find big scale solutions. But we can help our neighbors. With our individual talent, we can give without counting, comparing or expecting something back. The Power Of One doesn’t move a mountain. The Power Of One picks up a person who stumbled, gives the encouragement that one needs to move forward.  That afternoon, at the library, I witnessed many examples of The Power Of One:

The librarian, Miss Amy welcomed the families, showed them the resources they can use to learn English, get books to their kids. She even set up classes with special softwares to help them learn faster and more efficiently.

Syrian moms and dads taught us that real strength comes form resilience. They showed us that humility and dignity are pillars, and they don’t come with money or status.

Friends volunteered to tutor adults, because they saw successful people, just needing a little hand.

Kids hugged one another and whispered, “You are my friend”, even though they had just met. They can’t wait to meet again, next week.

Are we going to solve any crisis with hugs, English lessons and a few candies? No, of course not. Will our action be like a drop in the ocean? Probably even less than that. But not to our forty seven friends. To them, and to us, we are empowering one another to believe, move forward and take positive strides. The power of one.

When it was time to leave, everybody had to go somewhere, but nobody could extract themselves from this surreal atmosphere. No doubt it won’t always be so nice and cute and there will be bumps. But it’s okay, because we are connected, and we are there for the long haul. Not because we have to. But because it’s meant to be.


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