As I got ready to drop the 100th butterfly today I began to reflect on the beauty and fun this journey has been. How one conversation sparked an idea, which turned into a growing movement to “be the change!”
A little over a year ago, I was sitting around the kitchen island with the boys and some of their friends. We were talking about money and I brought up the idea of tithe. Most of them had never heard that term before. So I was trying to explain the theory of 10% giving.
It went something like this:
“Okay if you had 10 cookies and I asked you for one, would you say no?”
“ No. I would give you 2 or 3 if you asked. “
“ What kind of cookies?”
“What if you had 10 dollars and I asked you for one?”
“What’s it for?”
“To give to someone who needs it more than you do”
Teenagers in general
“Sure, that would be cool.”
“So what would happen if I asked you to give one of every 10 dollars you had in your wallet to someone who needed it more than you? You get to pick the person, or even a cause. Something that gets you fired up, or something that makes you sad. Or just a friend who is having a rough time. How would you feel about that?“
“ I mean I guess that’s cool. I’ve never really thought about giving away my money. I don’t really have very much money, but like one dollar out of every 10 isn’t that much.”
Teenager 3 “ Does one dollar really help someone?”
Teenager 4- “it could if we all pooled our dollars.“
“Okay, well let’s take your money off the table. What if I gave you money – let’s say a significant amount, and let you pick where it would go? You have to give it away. What would you do with it?”
“Ummm I don’t know… I have to think about it. I’ve never had money to give away.“
“Yes but I just gave it to you. To give away. So now what?”
“I’d give it to cancer research because my aunt was just diagnosed with breast cancer.”
“I’d give it to the animal shelter to keep a stray from being put to sleep.”
Teenager 4 “Oh, or I’d buy shoes for that kid on the basketball team who had his stolen out of his car.”
Teenager 2 “ Can I invest it to make more money?”
“Umm sure, if you use the investment to give more money away.”
“Deal, I’ll take it in fifty dollar bills!”
We continued the conversation coming up with more ideas on what they would do. Fleshing out why they would give to whom, or to which organizations. And I learned a lot about those teenagers. It was a really cool conversation.
The next day I was still thinking about our talk. I wondered what would happen if I really gave them the money. I wanted to do something that planted a seed. That gave them the opportunity to experience that feeling you get when you give something away. That allowed them to give to those causes that they came up with as we were talking.
And so it started. I dropped the first butterfly in the canyon near our house- Maryanne Michlanski found it and donated the money to Amvets. I was hooked.
14 months later…..100 butterflies hidden,100 unique and amazing stories of charitable giving. 100 seeds planted. 100 times a butterfly has had the privilege to encourage someone to “be the change they want to see in the world.” 100 small changes in our communities that set in motion unexpected results.
And this is just the beginning.