On Going Viral and The Profound Power of Good

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

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3 responses to “On Going Viral and The Profound Power of Good”

  1. Beth, there’s a cold beer here with your name on it, awaiting your visit! (In fact, make that two. After all, we DO have 25 years to catch up on….!) You’re welcome any time. x

    • Sherry, this has turned into an “It’s A Small World” story!

      When I was 13 years old, my parents lived in Bokondini, Irian Jaya, Indonesia. It’s in the highlands of the island, a village of Dani tribespeople. I spent most of my time at boarding school, as did the oldest daughter of our neighbors. Sarah and I didn’t know each other very well, as, I suspect, is common of people who meet as young teens and don’t quite know what to say or how to begin a friendship.

      Fast forward 25 years, and Sarah and I became reacquainted on Facebook. I think she’s fabulous, and when I next find myself in the U.K., I hope we can have a pint together and talk face to face about where life has led us.

      Well, it turns out that Sarah’s cousin is Lucy Robinson, and Sarah told Lucy about this blog… so reads here.

      It really is a very small world. And, I have to say, as much flack as social media gets, these amazing connections with childhood friends, with family, and apparently with the family of childhood friends 😉 – connections where we all get to learn lessons from each other – are why I persist.

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