Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stone Soup

Growing up in the 1960's, I loved watching Captain Kangaroo every morning. One of the stories that was told from time to time was "Stone Soup" by Marcia Brown. According to wikipedia, "Stone Soup is a Grimm Brothers[citation needed] tale about returning soldiers and their guise to get a selfish, starving town to learn the lesson of cooperation and its benefits. As with all Grimm Brother tales, it offers a lesson to those willing to read between the lines. The fable of the stone soup is about co-operation amid scarcity. "

I thought about the spirit of that story as I reflected on the past week in Toledo, Ohio, the site of an Extreme Makeover Home Edition (EMHE). Coincidentally, a couple of my colleagues were directly connected to the makeover. One of them knows the Frisch family personally, and the other colleague's wife works for the company that was in charge of building the new home. He took a week off from work to volunteer on the site, spending as long as 20 hours in one day onsite.

They both told wonderful, heartwarming stories about the family and the thousands of people who came together to provide a new home for this deserving family. But the story doesn't end with the family moving back into their home! The people and businesses of the greater Toledo area continue to collect money, and provide goods and services that will touch this family for many, many years. For example, the University of Toledo has pledged full scholarships to the 11 boys in the Frisch family (8 were adopted, 5 of them from Haiti).

On my way to work this morning I happened to hear an interview on the radio that listed some of the many ways people came together for this family. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up, and I got goosebumps to learn of this outpouring of care, love, and concern for a family that these people had never met. Wave after wave of good deeds, and this in spite of the relatively high unemployment rate and economic down turn of the local economy. (You'll be able to hear the interview after it's posted to Mary Beth & Rick's blog: They've also posted some pictures)

For at least a few days now we have had a welcome respite from the bad news and the many problems in our world. We have focused our attention on all that is truly good about people despite our own personal problems. I can only hope the same goodwill is evident in the other locations that EMHE visits.

This experience illustrates the enormous power of COLLABORATION! And with the many Web 2.0 tools that are now available to students around the world, we have a responsibility to teach our children of the potential we have to change the world.

As Dr. Seuss said: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

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