Friday, July 29, 2011

The lesson of Swedish fish and the tardy bell

Go Bulldogs!

     My grade school, Winans Elementary School was only five or six blocks from my family's home.  Jones' Grocery, a small mom-and-pop store that opened very early and sold penny candy, was a block and a half from the school.  It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that my friends Sarah, Mike, Lisa and I were often late for class.  Really, who wouldn't want to start the day with a handful of cinnamon bears and Swedish fish??

Swedish fish, the breakfast of champions!

     About a block away, we'd hear the bell ring.  Instead of picking up the pace, we would look back to see if there were any kids behind us.  Our philosophy was that we might be late, but those kids would be later.  If luck had it, there might be kids walking even farther behind and they would be the latest.  This helped ease our minds and keep things in perspective (for nine year olds)....If we had it bad, others had it worse.

     The years have passed and I still believe in the lessons I learned as a young child walking to school:  1. Swedish fish make a delicious breakfast.  2.  Be grateful for what you have and remember those who have it worse.

    When the power went out in the neighborhood today as the temperatures outside crept up to 104F, I called upon these lessons...Well, only Lesson #2 since I didn't have any Swedish fish handy.  It was a bit sticky in the house and the dog was panting rather dramatically, but we had a house to shelter us from the sun and a room where I could nap and wait for the airconditioning to turn on again.  It may have been uncomfortable for me today, but as the photos (click on the link) below show, too many people have it much worse.

     So here's my soap box speech for the day:  Over 1,600,000,000 people live in substandard housing and 100,000,000 people are homeless in the world.  About 600,000 of those are Haitians still displaced after the earthquake more than a year and a half ago.  By 2030, 40% of the world's population will need access to decent housing.  Research has shown that clean, decent and stable housing increases a person's health, physical safety, and security along with increasing educational opportunities and job prospects.  Whatever was bad for you today, so many people had it worse. 

    Be grateful for what you have.  Donate to Habitat for Humanity Haiti if you can.  And enjoy some Swedish fish for breakfast sometime.


  1. Love you, Kelli! You are the best!

  2. Kelli,

    I love your story. For all those reading this, please donate to Haiti. Kelli will be donating her time, her energy, and most importantly her loving caring spirit to make things better for people in Haiti. I can't wait to work with you again Kelli!

  3. Thanks, Connie and Jenny. I love all the wonderful things both of you do to help others too.