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Day 302: Stand Up for What You Believe In – Even if it Means Standing Alone

Have you ever shied away from an opportunity to stand up  for what you believe in to avoid being alone or shunned? Have you ever had a moment in your life when you had to make a choice to do something to help another person or did you walk the other way?

There are times in our life when we are given the opportunity to stop and stand up for another human being.

I had a chance to stand up for a family and it was one of my proudest ways to give.

Day 302: Give 302

We can do no great things, only small things with great love.  ~Mother Teresa

I have said this often – I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world – Vancouver, BC. My son and I were enjoying a beautiful day down our our ocean front park running and playing in a big open grassy field. People come from all over the city to spend afternoons with their family to having large picnics, enjoying the surf and the sun.

My son and I were playing near a family setting up for a large picnic.  I heard a man speaking in a rude fashion to the family. They had reserved a special picnic area that had built in BBQ’s, a cover and picnic tables so they were able to host their entire family for a fun day in the park. They had respectfully asked the man to not sit in this area as they were expecting more guests. The man took offence to being asked to move along and started speaking in an abusive manner. His language was so rude I am not able to repeat his harsh words it in this post. His behaviour quickly turned from not only abusive but included many rude racial comments. Sentences like ” You are not welcome in our country.” ” Speak English” “We don’t want you here” started coming out of his mouth for the entire park to hear.

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can.  ~Sydney Smith

The family was Persian. Their culture makes up a wonderful part of our community in West Vancouver. The family didn’t know how to react as the man was so abusive he could have become violent at any moment. My son asked me what was wrong with the man and I just could not stand by and watch without doing something to help.

I approached the man from a safe distance and told him to keep his thoughts and words to himself as I didn’t want my 3 year old son to hear or learn from his disgusting behaviour. I was not abusive but I was also not friendly. The man instantly lashed back at me with his words calling me names that I would never repeat in my life. It was at that point I would not put up with anyone abusing me or anyone else.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.  ~Winston Churchill

I stood up to this man in a way I didn’t even know I had in me. I strongly believe that people who feel a need to bring others down with their mouths do not have the courage to stand up when someone stands up to them. I promptly told him he was not welcome in our neighbourhood and I would be calling the police to have him removed. He quickly backed down from my stand and removed himself.

My son was now at my heels asking me what I was doing. I had to explain my actions to my  3 year old so he could learn from the unfortunate incident. These are the lessons I taught him:

1) When someone needs help you don’t walk away –  you stop and help.

2) Believe you can make a difference by helping another human being.

3) Stand up for what you believe in and use your voice to change the world.

4) Call the police whenever you need help. They are there to support and give back to the community to keep it safe for everyone.

I could have easily walked away with my son but I didn’t. I believed what the man was doing was wrong and he was scaring people in my own community. Someone had to tell him what he was doing was wrong and his racial views were wrong and damaging. Was I scared? A little but I had to stand up for what I thought was right. What was I teaching my son if I didn’t stop to help the family and give back to them in a way that no one else was willing to do.

Do you have a story to share similar to mine? A moment in your life when you stood up for another human, an animal or the planet. Leave us a comment so others will be inspired to have the courage to change the world.

Time Commitment: 5 minutes

What people are saying about 365give

“I wanted to express my gratitude for the teaching you provided today. Your message was delivered eloquently, compassionately, and without judgment. The kids were engaged, and now have knowledge with which they can change the world. We all appreciated how you took the time to help us learn to build positive mindsets and practice happiness.”
Shelley Gardner, Grade 6 Ridgeview Elementary (West Vancouver)
“Actions really do speak louder than words, which is why I believe the 365give Challenge has resonated throughout my community. Every give we do is so important to us and leaves us happier and appreciating our lives a little bit more than before.”
Mahina Niyozova (Tajikistan)
“After watching the 365give TEDx Talk, I was inspired to join and begin a daily giving program in India. Today, along with 12 other volunteer women, we provide 100 meals to local underprivileged children in Bangalore for school every day.”
Deepika Ahuja, Mom (Bangalore, India)
“My life has greater meaning now.”
Renate Jorge, @BeKindBrazil and 365give Member, Family Program (Brazil)
“I just wanted to share that 365give really helped me. I am a better person now, thank you.”
MayLee, 365give Member, Individual Program
“This 365give Challenge has really injected excitement and extra enthusiasm in each work day as I think about what we can do. It has motivated me and the students.”
Cristina Peters, School Counselor (New York City, USA)
“I have seen a huge shift in energy throughout my classroom since doing the 365give Challenge. The Challenge has empowered my students to make a positive difference in the school’s community and beyond.”
Cella Adriana, Special Needs Educator /The Holliswood School (New York City, USA)
“The 365give Challenge helps students understand their impact on others. It opens avenues for introducing and discussing global and local issues in classrooms. It is powerful to watch students of all ages think about how they can make a change in another person’s life with one small act.”
Jessica Hall, Primary Teacher, French Immersion at École Pauline Johnson (West Vancouver, Canada)