Updated: Aug 12, 2021
What impact can you have? Complete little gestures in what you are passionate about.
This past week, month, and the whole pandemic really - we have witnessed the ways communities have suffered through what has been more than challenging times. One community hardest hit in England were those in poverty. Specifically in this post, I will highlight, families, but more importantly, children, who rely on free school meals.
Marcus Rashford is a professional football player for Manchester United and England. Many wouldn't realise it - seeing him living the professional lifestyle - but long before that, he was brought up in a household reliant on free school meals.
When schools were closed during the spring lockdown and the government threatened to stop free school meals - Rashford was one of few individuals to step beyond his role as an athlete and have an impact.
A gesture is a little thing, that can have a big impact.
A tweet, a mention, a letter - all gestures that may seem small on the surface, but have a big impact if they are done correctly.
Now, please don't get me wrong: Rashford's gesture wasn't little in size, but when you strip it back and look at our human abilities, for you and I, writing a tweet or letter isn't drastically difficult, talking to a friend and drumming up support isn't challenging.
Rashford went the extra mile, but when we put it like that - it seems unattainable for the average person to do. So let's go the extra yard. We have put gestures like this on a pedestal so much so that it is a rare occurrence. So when someone finally does something - it is so striking, just like Rashford's actions - yet it is within all of our abilities and control to make a gesture.
Rashford used his platforms and connections to draw attention to the issue that 6% of children are worried about going hungry during the break, according to the Food Foundation. Rashford tweeted about the issue, gaining floods of attention and support; he collected around 300,000 signatures to reintroduce free school meals for children during the holidays. Most notable, was when he put pen to paper and wrote a letter to the MPs in parliament.
Quoted saying "no child in 2020 should be sat in a classroom worried about how they are going to access food during the holidays". Rashford was and still is so right.
At the time, Rashford forced the government into a U-turn, and families were issued with vouchers, which continued through the summer break with a “COVID food fund”. But a few days ago, the government rejected a motion in parliament to extend free school meal support over the half-term next week and beyond into the winter holidays, in England.
The action, or lack thereof, taken by the government made the headlines; highlighting how disappointed Rashford was in the country's leadership, and thus the country as a whole.
With that being said, however, taking the positives where they come: due to Rashford's monumental actions and gestures - that drew attention to this clear wrong doing - individuals in the community, empowered by his gestures, took it upon themselves to do what the government were failing to do.
Speak out against the action and provide food for those in need.
They completed little gestures that were within their control, power, and jurisdiction.
Restaurants and cafés began to open their kitchens to cater for free school meals. Other influencers tweeted about the issue.
A gesture is a little thing that can have a big impact.
You may make a gesture to the community, in your family, or just to a friend. It doesn't have to be in the magnitude or degree as to Rashford's gestures. But maybe you acknowledge someone that is in need or could benefit from a gesture...
A few examples: Stopping to help an elderly person with shopping, helping an individual with a buggy up the stairs, giving up a seat on the tube or bus for someone in need, stopping someone from doing something you know is wrong etc.
We must appreciate the little gestures that we can make - we must take pride in the little things we can do.
I believe strongly in the powers and control we as humans have, to do good.
All it could take is a little thing.
I truly take my hat off to Rashford - his little thing became a massive thing.
I want to empower you today to complete a little gesture.