I remember that “Aha Moment” 10 years ago, as I stood in my toy store pondering a comment that a well-educated customer had just made about “throwaway kids” in our country. It’s a freeze frame moment: I am standing by the Lego section, 5 month old baby asleep in her Baby Bjorn carrier with her little head resting on my chest. My head is nodding slowly as I talk to myself. “ You know the real challenges children who have been placed in foster care face. You need to make a choice. Will you create new outcomes for this beautiful baby, her siblings and her peers in foster care? Do you have the courage to create new realities for our nation’s most vulnerable kids?”
The question that Marshall Ganz of the Kennedy School would have asked me would probably have been a bit different. I imagine he would have looked at me and queried, “Will you create a story of hope?” Ganz, a lecturer in public policy at Harvard has written, “A story of hope begins with the recognition that an urgent challenge can become a moment of choice.” It is that moment when we feel a current reality being replaced with new options and a sense of promise.
Ganz states, “By turning a bad, hopeless or overwhelming situation into a moment of choice, we have given the moment real significance. We are now in the midst of a new story.” Before we may have been resigned to an inevitable fate. When we are touched by a story of hope, we are moved to consider new possibilities. Stories of hope are created when we decide to make the right choices and take action toward shaping our desired future.
Since that day in the Lego section I have worked with fabulous teams of people to create stories of hope through my work with the Treehouse Foundation and Sibling Connections. The result: Many lives are being enriched, blessed, and honored. Together we have chosen to become members of a group of leading edge thinkers and doers who share a collective identity that helps each of us feel supported in the risks we take as we transform our communities and the nation!