The Wisdom of Children: Microphilanthropy Challenge #30DaysofGOOD

It's $30 for 30 Days of GOOD, our microphilanthropy challenge. These three people chose to invest their dollars in younger generations.

Things are easier said than done, or so the old adage goes, and we couldn't agree more. That's why we do The GOOD 30-Day Challenge (#30DaysofGOOD), a monthly attempt to live better. Our challenge for December? Creative microphilanthropy.

Though Darwin is most widely known for popularizing the “survival of the fittest,” that was actually only half of his view on human nature. Twelve years after publishing On the Origins of Species, he wrote Descent of Man, in which he argued that “our regard for the approbation and disapprobation of our fellows depends on sympathy, which, as we shall see, forms an essential part of the social instinct, and is indeed its foundation-stone.”

How about that? Even Darwin believed that human beings are instinctually social and sympathetic. Perhaps it’s society’s hardening effects that condition us to stop obeying our most basic instincts to empathize, share, and act on behalf of others. That's why kids are such great teachers and benefactors of creative microphilanthropy. Over the years, many of the “secret agents” of The Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy have created awesome projects that engage kids in some way.

Though Dave is now a television producer, he used to be a preschool teacher, and he never quite lost his love of little artists. His act of creative microphilanthropy involved buying pieces of art created by children from Etsy. As he put it, “Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde floating shark sold for $8 million dollars and a Giacometti statue went for $104 million. An abstract watercolor by the artist simply know as Hallie cost me $15, and with $4 shipping, a total of $19. Hallie is 6 years old and her favorite color is rainbow.” When Dave’s pieces came in the mail, they were accompanied by notes from the artists themselves, each expressing how much the support of a benefactor meant to them and promising to keep on painting.

Sanda provided $1 bills (“dollars for doers”) to kick off a Kindness Campaign at an urban middle school. “Samaritan Scouts” who witnessed random acts of kindness wrote up short reports in exchange for dollars, which they gave to the do-gooders for use at the school store. These incidents were displayed in a large-scale, student-designed exhibit called “Caught in the Act of Kindness,” that was featured in a central area of the school.

Noah, a teacher himself, decided to use his money for supplies—notebooks, pens, and Happy Meals—for a writing group comprised of two of his students. They met every single Saturday for a whole year to write together. Then Noah decided it was time for him to gift Enry and Eric, the budding writers, with their own money to give away. Take a look at the video they made about their struggles with twin creative struggles: writing and philanthropy.


So whether you’re an educator, or just someone who realizes that kids are both wise and fun to be around, consider meeting this month’s GOOD 30-Day Challenge with the help of some ingenious, inspirational minors.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives

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The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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