Fixing things

Per usual, I find it harder to come up with a beginning line for this blog. Happy Hump day.

When I was working as a consultant through TripleSkinny, I’d often find myself getting introduced to problems that were caused by others. Whether it was a broken website, CRM, or mobile advertising campaign, clients would often hire me to clean up a problem.

Regardless of their involvement in creating the problem, the solution always wound up with me being brought in to fix the issue. Broken things need fixing.

When I read the news, I can’t help but see windows into a world that is broken. From politics to weather disasters, there seems to be a constant need to help those in need.

I opened Facebook this morning and watched a short video about the source of our SmartPhone batteries; mining many of their components in third world countries, using children as young as 8 years-old. Something in me looked at my smartphone and knew this, too, was a problem that needs to be fixed.

Not knowing where to start is the realization that a direction needs to be set. In this case, how does one answer the question of wanting to help children they’ve never met? My heart doesn’t need to meet these children to feel the pain of responsibility for their suffering, because I am a smartphone owner.

There wasn’t anybody waiting in line with me when I camped out for my first iPhone, telling me the facts behind the parts required to make this new technological ‘miracle’. Rarely do people ‘bridge the gap’ to inform consumers about the suffering required to satisfy their consumer appetite.

How does one make a difference in a world that seems hell-bent on consumption?

I remember…in what seems to be an eternity ago, a vivid scene from Northern Laos, as I rolled through twisting mountain roads in the back of a crowded bus.

It was a young boy, walking with his arms folded behind his back. Even though he was a small child, he carried himself erect and tall – like a much older version of himself.

Children are the innocence we have the opportunity to protect, nurture, and instruct. As adults, we have a responsibility to keep an eye out for these children.

Looking at the video of a cobalt mine in Congo, I was reminded of this little boy. Only this time, I saw a video of an 8-year old boy, who carried himself in similar manner as the boy I saw in Laos – upright and firm, like an adult.

Only this boy will likely not have a chance to walk those same steps, as an adult. This is a heartbreaking reality that strikes home.

Our swipe-left-for-love culture seems to intentionally check in and out of situations that require our attention. In many cases, we can ‘check out’ of the lives of our friends and family, only to ‘check in’ at a later date, fully confident that the only thing we’ll be discussing are the changes that occurred since the last moment we were present with each other.

When I see a video of a small boy, the part of me that wants to ‘check out’ and not think about his future, is reminded by the fact that he may not be alive the next time I decide to check in.

Children haven’t done anything to defile the world. They don’t scream for profits at the expense of employees, or the environment. They don’t seek to murder, kill, or steal for their own gain.

Sometimes it isn’t a matter of killing the beast, but checking your own appetites that helped create the monster in the first place.

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