Good Life: Dream Big.

Lola, Miss C, and Jaz cheering with Miss C’s classmates as others completed the run. (All photos here taken by Martin)

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] A [/dropcap] few weeks ago, Miss C made an announcement at dinner. “Mom, Dad, there’s a fundraiser at school!” she said, handing over a folder full of documents explaining the latest method in raising money for her elementary school.

I admit, I felt my shoulders droop a little bit.

I suspect I’m not the only parent who feels a slight sense of dread whenever these fundraising folders make it home. Miss C has been attending school for five years now, and throughout those years, she’s brought home requests to sell candy, wrapping paper, frozen foods, coupon books, and invitations for us to attend event nights and craft shows, all in an effort to raise money for the school. Of course, it’s all for a good cause, but more times than not, the actual responsibility and work falls on the parents to hit up friends and family for orders, to manage the money, and to deliver the goods.

But this time was different.

As Miss C explained to us, this fundraiser was actually a mini-marathon. Her job was to collect pledges, and then run as many laps as possible (with a set limit of 35 laps) the day of the runathon at her school. There would be no items to sell or deliver. Everything was done through a sponsored website, and it was up to Miss C how she wanted to go about asking for pledges.

As she walked home from school, she decided that making a video was probably going to be the fastest and easiest way to explain things to her grandparents and family.

“I want to get enough pledges to bring in $10 a lap. That’s why I need your help, to make the video,” she said.  “Like the time you guys made a video like Jon and Kate? I think we could do something pretty quick, right?”

Make a video? Yeah. We can do that.

I also offered to post her video on our personal Facebook pages, too.

But about that goal for $10 a lap?

“Why don’t you go for $20 a lap?” I asked.

“That’s a lot of money,” she said. “I don’t think any kid from my school has brought in that much.”

“If you can go for 10, why not 20?”

I could see the wheels turning in her head.

Within minutes, Miss C and I were searching through YouTube, pulling up our favorite television themes, commercials, and viral videos, before deciding we could do something similar to the Dollar Shave Club‘s web commercial.

So, we whipped together a script and headed outside before the sun went down to record it. Miss C did great. I held the camera while Martin stood behind me, holding the papers up over the camera for Miss C to read. We even got Jaz in a shot! (Lola decided it was getting too cold and went inside to watch a movie.)

After the sun went down, we headed indoors for the rest of the shots, which didn’t take too long since Miss C got the hang of it pretty quickly. And then she and I edited it all together, pushing her bedtime a little later than usual to get it all done.

Then I posted it.*


By the time she got up for school, a lot of our friends and family already commented on the video. Even better, they pledged donations to her run. Over the next few days, she logged onto the computer to check her status, always amazed to see the numbers rise. Within no time, she was well past her $10 per lap goal.

Would she make it to $20?

The day of the runathon, Martin took Lola and Jaz up to the school to cheer on Miss C as she ran all 35 laps. After she crossed the finish line, he showed her his cell phone, where he had pulled up the donation website.

She maxed out her goal, and then some. In fact, while we’re still waiting for a final tally, she was named as one of the top three fundraisers in the entire school.

One of the Good Life recommendations that my kids see every morning as they pass the artwork on the wall is to dream big. This is something we talk about a lot, especially since I like to quiz them on their lofty aspirations.

What are you going to be when you grow up?

I love daydreaming with them, and imaging the things they could earn and do in their lifetime. Become President. Run their own business, like an ice cream shop or a bookstore. Travel to different places.

Yet, I’ve noticed that I tend to talk about these big dreams and aspirations as if they only belong in the future. Miss C’s recent fundraiser provided an excellent opportunity to talk about setting goals and “dreaming big” for something that is here and now.

To do something as simple as setting her goal just a little bit higher than what she assumed would be easy.

That’s what it means to dream big, I think … to embrace what seems a little impossible, a little bit daunting, to gather the resources available to you, to put in the effort with that goal in mind, and then watch as your dream unfolds.

Sometimes that dream is achieved exactly as envisioned.

Other times, it goes beyond the wildest.

And other times, it falls just a few stars short of expectations, which is probably what scares us from dreaming big in the first place.

Yet dreaming big allows us to learn and do so much more!

In this case, Miss C learned a lot. She learned some multimedia and communication skills — video production and editing, and how to craft a message in an entertaining way for others — which I think will prove helpful to her down the road somehow.

She learned about fundraising for a great cause. She learned that a strong network is valuable. A supportive family and working together even more so.

And —  as she said in her follow-up thank you video to our friends and family — she learned that whenever possible,  include a dancing gorilla. 🙂


Something tells me being an adorable little brother is going to work to Jaz’s advantage…

*Obviously, the fundraiser is over, so there’s no longer a link for donations.*