This past week I had the pleasure of hearing ABC’s 20/20 David Muir speak about his career as a journalist. As a Syracuse native, he explained when he had his internship at our local CBS affiliate station throughout high school and college, he would ride around in the news cruiser thinking, “Wow! I’m so lucky! I’m seeing the world!” All of us in the room chuckled, knowing how small our dear city is, both in acres and blocks as well as people and events. Fast forward 25 years and here he is, actually seeing the world. It’s this excitement and spontaneity that has propelled him through his career where he now shares an anchor desk with the revered Diane Sawyer. But he went on to say why his job means so much to him, and it truly struck a chord.
How to Save a Life
One of the major stories David has covered during his career was the famine in Somalia. It was the worst famine this generation has seen, and he was there for it all. He depicted a scene that some of us can only imagine in our most gruesome and terrifying nightmares. A scene where doctors tended to people hanging on to their last thread of life. A scene where children’s skin was hanging from their bones due to the lack of nutrition. These made-for-movies moments are ones that reporters tend to capitalize on, ones that we at home ask, “How dare they be so insensitive and so dehumanizing?” But for David, these are moments that make him think, “What can we as Americans do to help?”
In David’s mind, “What’s the point of reporting on something if you can’t create change?” And that’s just what he did in Somalia. While talking with a doctor who was tending to a child’s bedside, David reached down and picked up a packet filled with a powdery substance. When he inquired what it was for, the doctor responded with, “This one little packet, only costing $2, can save a child’s life.” The packet contained a special form of peanut butter, one that contained enough protein and other nutrients to bring a child back from the brink of despair, deterioration and ultimately death.
So much more than the cost of peanuts
With a sense of urgency, David sent out a plea to all Americans. He explained the necessity of these packets for the doctors who were doing their best work in Africa. And over the course of just a few hours, Americans had given more than $100,000 to the famine efforts, namely for a bountiful supply of peanut butter packets. As David ended his story, I realized that this is what change is all about—capitalizing on a moment or situation of extreme need, and giving people a reason to be charitable, a reason to be selfless and most importantly, a reason to be thankful.
I challenge you, as we begin the new season (I know, I know, it’s been autumn for almost a week, but who’s counting,) to start looking at situations through a different lens. Make those moments and those callings more like revolutions, where YOU are the catalyst; you are the source of good in all that is sad and negative in that seemingly tiny and intimate space. Instead of asking God why these children are starving, why these adults are suffering, ask what… what you can do, what you can give, what you can be. Be the change. Be the peanut butter.