Right before thanksgiving 2020, we decided we needed to shake things up a bit in our home. We had noticed that, although we live at a ski resort, spend a seemingly endless amount of cash on snowboard and ski gear for our kids, and always have good food on the table, happiness just wasn't what you'd call the overall picture in our house. It was more chaotic than anything. Crying, kids fighting, complaining. Yeah, life was pretty much out of control. Christina and I had hit a wall a few weeks prior and were finally at a point where we were both willing to admit it.
There was a rawness to our emotions and an unusually open vulnerability as a result.
I was at work one day, and I called Christina to check-in. She answered the phone and had been crying from watching a commercial. It was for a charity that provides clean water to villages around the world that do not yet have access to such a basic need. I was startled and promised I would watch the whole 19-minute commercial with her when I got home. I did, no big deal. I grew up in Peru and had witnessed poverty like that throughout my childhood.
However, the next morning I woke up, and after correcting my firstborn ten-year-old about an entitled comment he made, I insisted the HE watch it. This time, I was moved to tears as I watched it with him. -Uncontrollable tears. I sobbed, and at first, I tried to hide it from my son. Then I realized just how much he needed to see me feel what I was feeling.
'We have so much.'
'We take so much for granted.'
How does a parent communicate these things effectively to a child? It's hard to! Especially when everything around us, including our actions as parents, indicates otherwise.
A mentor of mine once told me when I was 18, "Your dollar is your vote Owen". Netflix, junk food, app subscriptions, outerwear, high electrical bills; my expenses are expressions of my values.
I knew I needed to take action. I came up with a plan to shut off our household water for ten days and haul all the water we needed as a family from a spring about a kilometer away. Included in that plan was to raise as much money as possible for Charitywater.org and slip in a personal ten-day fast as well to give me some street credit while telling friends to donate.
Experience of a lifetime.
Sure it was hard, but I'll go into details about the fast and the challenges I overcame during the ten days of not eating and hauling our household water on a future date.
Together we raised over 10,000 CAD to send abroad to support a community in need. We bonded as a family during the water haul walks, had plenty of opportunities to speak with our children and neighborhood kids about water consumption, and felt very empowered. We could do it! We could create meaningful and tangible change for a better world.
And when the fast and water shut off was over, although our glasses were again full, our hearts felt just a little more empty at the thought of returning to life as usual.