The AchieveMax® team takes great pride in the fact that we strive to keep our material current and relevant in our effort to assist our clients in their journey to “Achieve the Maximum®.” In my personal role as a communicator, keynote speaker, and trainer, it is imperative that I read a great deal of material daily in the form of books, magazines, newspapers, and web sites. I also watch a lot of TV and listen to the radio whenever possible.
Needless to say, that means I come into contact with an enormous number of very negative news stories. I fully understand that. Negativity sells. However, being exposed to it in heavy doses can take its toll. It can cause you to become a cynic, lose your enthusiasm and positive attitude, and cause you to soon expect the worst of any situation. Exposure to the daily news, in any form, can be extremely damaging to your mental and emotional health. For instance, today alone I discovered the following:
- Al-Qaeda grows in Iraq
- No dominant leaders emerge from either political party
- Britney, Paris, Lindsey, and Nicole continue wicked ways
- Baseball icon: steroids and home runs
- NBA referee fixes games
- NFL star faces jail for dog fighting
- MySpace deletes 29,000 sex offenders
- Gas prices expected to climb again
- Coffee lovers prepare to pay more
The list goes on and on, but I think I’ve proven my point. Regardless of the subject matter: No good news!
Then it happened! The clouds opened. The sun illuminated the landscape. I swear I heard the soft, throaty strains of Diana Krall in the background, supported by gentle wind chimes and the sounds of flowing fountain waters. All was well in the western world as I discovered a shocking news story hidden in the middle of my local paper! The shock emerged in the fact that the story was a good news story!
I truly believe this report would fall into a category that anyone would enjoy … a category which would definitely uplift and inspire any reader, brighten your day, and restore your faith in the human race. It makes you appreciate the fact that our future generations are currently in training and responding beautifully in their efforts to some day make this a better world than what we see today. Let me quickly summarize the article and see if you agree.
Visualize, if you will, a petite 4-year girl selling lemonade in her driveway as her parents conducted a garage sale. Cute, but nothing unusual at first glance. Now let’s examine motive. Little Sierra Bellingar was selling lemonade to raise money to purchase a wig for her 5-year-old leukemia-afflicted cousin Kayli who lives in a neighboring community. The loving cousins were constant playmates until Kayli, in and out of the hospital, grew weaker and weaker and found her capacity to fight off infections greatly diminished.
Sierra was informed that her favorite cousin would soon lose her hair and longed for a wig like the one worn by her favorite TV star Hannah Montana. This inspired Kayli to get creative and develop a plan of action. She’s 4 years old! She made signs and, with her parents’ help, built herself a colorful stand. Over a very warm, sunny, and love-filled weekend this diminutive entrepreneur raised $1,300!
Sierra wasn’t the only hero in this story. Many times over the weekend the line for lemonade was 10-people deep. And while the price was more than reasonable, many people paid as much as $20 a cup to support Sierra in her heroic quest. Neighborhood children emptied their piggy banks to contribute to this wonderful cause. There was a constant flow of friends, neighbors and complete strangers as word of the crusade for a wig spread like wild-fire.
Stories were shared throughout the weekend by those who have lost loved ones, cancer survivors, and those currently living with cancer. Sierra missed many of the stories as she was busy pouring lemonade, collecting donations, and offering hugs of reassurance to those who couldn’t hold back the tears. Final result … she raised enough to buy the Hannah Montana wig in addition to a more practical wig for everyday use. The additional funds will go toward medical expenses not covered by the health insurance. Kayli even mustered enough strength to stop by for a while which thrilled everyone in attendance.
What a weekend … two terrific youngsters, supportive parents, a caring community, compassionate strangers, a cooperative weatherman, delicious lemonade, and a fairy-tale ending. What more can you ask for … maybe a few more inspirational stories like this in our future news mix. By the way, I think our future is in pretty good hands.
Note: The original story was reported very eloquently and in more greater depth by John Schneider in the Lansing State Journal.
About Harry K. Jones
Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.