On Going Viral and The Profound Power of Good

Jan 31 2012

Lucy Robinson is Lily’s mama.

I don’t know Lucy.

But she has my deepest mama admiration and respect. And I think her story deserves to be told.

Lily’s story – which is, of course, Lucy’s, as well, since every child’s story tells the story of her mother – is making the internet rounds.

See, three-and-a-half-year-old Lily wrote a simply precious letter to a grocery store, questioning their good sense in naming a splotched bread after a tiger, when clearly the bread resembled a giraffe. Sometimes it takes a child to help us see the error of our baking ways.

And a sweet man from the store wrote back. He took the time to craft a response fitting for  a child – a little bit of whimsy, a little bit of kindness, a little of himself.

And Facebook picked up the story. And so did the Huffington Post.

And eventually the grocery store renamed their bread.

It is a sweet and darling story that’s completely worth the time to follow because it reminds us that a little girl’s ideas are worth stopping to consider. And that all by itself is a profound truth.

But there are two things that strike me in this story, and the first is this:

Without Lily’s mama stopping first to listen to her baby girl – to slow down, to take the time to help her document her thoughts, to believe that a three-year-old’s ideas were worthy of a grocery store’s attention – the world could never have listened. It’s the mamas, y’all. The mamas who are graced with the awesome responsibility of listening well to our children and helping them gain their voice.

And the second is this:

Upon realizing the virality of this story, Lily’s mama had a choice. To try to profit. To promote her daughter’s fame. To seek out the next viral story.

Instead, Lily’s mama posted this, a message of gratitude for the interest in their story, and a gentle suggestion that we readers “also consider making a small donation to the Disasters Emergency Committee, so that more children can eat. So many children, particularly in East Africa, are right now facing another day with no food. Let’s make this a real good news story.”

And I can’t help but think that this – this ending – is the story worth telling.

Lucy Robinson, you’re my hero.

Beth Woolsey