The World Needs More Miss Rumphiuses

Gun control. The Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage. Obama. Ferguson. There are tons of stuff out in the world today that we debate and fight over on a daily basis. These debates and fights can divide us to the point where friendships end, resentment builds and tempers flare. So how can we counter-act these volatile issues? It’s simple; we need more Miss Rumphiuses in the world.

“Who,” you may be asking, “is Miss Rumphius?” Excellent question. She is the focus of my all-time favorite children’s book of the same name, written by Barbara Cooney and published in 1982. “Miss Rumphius” tells the story of Alice Rumphius who from a young age has a goal of traveling to far-away places and living by the sea when she grows up. Her wise grandfather tells her that there is in fact a third thing she must do when she grows up. She must find a way to make the world more beautiful. When she grows up, she in fact does travel the world and settles down in a house by the sea. But she is still needing to make the world a better place. In the end, she walks along the country-side, scattering lupine seeds. As the wind carries the seeds, they settle in far-away places and when they eventually bloom, the landscape is filled with brilliant shades of purple, pink, blue and white. It is in a word; beautiful. Alice earns the moniker, “the lupine lady” and in the end is shown to teach the next generation about the importance of making the world a better place.

So how can we apply the lessons from this book in our own life? Simple. By extending kindness to everyone we meet. By volunteering with an organization you are passionate about. By baking a cake for your new neighbor, regardless of their sexual orientation. By planting flowers in the yards of folks that can’t do it themselves. By thanking a veteran for his service to our country, regardless of your politics.

My challenge to you this week is, anytime you see something negative, be it by social media or out in the 3-D world, you’d counter-act it by doing something nice for someone else. Let’s all do our part to make the world a better, more beautiful place.



*Miss Rumphius cover art appears courtesy: