Saren Eyre Loosli, mother of five kids in five years, and co-founder of Power of Moms holds a B.A. from Wellesley College and a Masters in Education from Harvard. She's consulted and conducted training for numerous non-profits including the National Institute on Out-of-School Time, YMCA and One-Heart Bulgaria and has traveled to Africa and South America with Choice Humanitarian.
As I studied third world development and international relations in my undergraduate studies and went on to study what education is and what more it could be with my Masters, I figured out a whole lot of seemingly brilliant solutions to many vital issues.
But somehow I never quite got in the position to implement my ideas. I did some cool things – worked in orphanages in Eastern Europe, did a little humanitarian work in Kenya and Bolivia, ran volunteer-promotion efforts nationwide, set up programs in needy schools….
…then I started having kids.
Because my fertility clock was ticking when I finally found “Mr. Right,” we started our family quickly, the kids came in quick
succession, and thanks to a surprise set of twins, I had five kids in just five years.
I loved my kids dearly and was grateful that my deeply-held dream of having a family had come true. But mothering didn't come as naturally to me as it does to some. The photo below with my daughter crying, one which I've ironically titled ‘Happy, Happy Family' encapsulates how difficult those few years were.
In attending to my family, I saw my personal need to be involved in the larger world drift further and further away. I crammed bits and pieces of work for various worthy causes (part-time training and consulting for non-profits, service work for my church, helped a non-profit serving orphanages in Bulgaria get off the ground) in between naps and diaper changes and story time. But mostly my life consisted of doing rather mundane and often unpleasant things for lots of noisy messy wonderful people with many mutually exclusive needs.
One day I read a quote by Mother Teresa's that stuck with me: “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” Motherhood is perhaps the greatest example of a long, long string of small things that, done with great love and extra thought, can have ripple effects that go on for generations.
I came to realize that maybe my “cause,” my purpose in life, was right under my nose. Perhaps mothering my own kids, helping make the schools in my own community better, being a good neighbor and friend, and learning from and helping the other mothers around me was a much “grander” cause than any other I could pursue.
While it's true that my kids are informed about world issues and pray each night for the orphans in Bulgaria that we do a fund raiser for each Christmas, I hope my kids also are learning something it took me a whole lot of years to figure out: Doing little things to better the world immediately around you and helping with the things you're already PART OF is vital and beautiful – and often more personally satisfying than trying to impact big groups and sweeping
Taking treats to a lonely neighbor is just as important as sending money to a lonely orphan. Offering friendship to a left-out kid at school is just as important as giving food to a hungry child in Africa. Volunteering in my own kids' classroom
is just as important as changing education systems.
AND… Helping bright, motivated moms find each other and share what they know is just as important as helping non-profits pool their resources and learn from each other.
The micro matters a LOT. The macro doesn't happen without the micro. It really is the little things that count.
You and I can change the world, by changing our world…
One person, one mother, one family at a time.
Starting right here with you and me.
As you read through Saren's post, and re-read Rebecca Nielsen's Rightsizing our Dream and Christine Vick's Simply Living, what similarities do you observe? What similarities/differences to your own life?
I was speaking with Janna Taylor yesterday of Mindfull Tutors in Manhattan. As a professional tutor, the micro matters a lot. How does the micro matter in other areas of our lives?
When children have parents that encourage them to develop their gifts (which ideally is what we will all do with our own children), they have many, many options. When we have options, we get to make choices, but we also have to make choices. It's the feminine hero's journey….