“So Shines A Good Deed In A Weary World”

Packing meals to be sent to Haiti.
Packing meals to be sent to Haiti.

I spent the last few hours of a waning 2012 with my son Simon’s hockey team.  Not on the ice, but instead in the nondescript, suburban warehouse where his Squirt hockey team was volunteering for a service project.  In just a couple of hours, Simon and his teammates (and the dozens of other volunteers who were there that afternoon) packed more than 5,000 packets of meals for children in Haiti.

It was a small act, but it will have a tangible impact on the lives of some others, kids we don’t know and will never meet.  On the way home, with the radio droning on about Congress and the looming fiscal cliff, Simon talked about what he had learned that afternoon about malnutrition and hunger.   “Don’t you think that was a good time?” he asked.  “I feel good about doing something to help out.”

It reminded me of one of my favorite lines from the movie Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.

“So shines a good deed in a weary world. ”  ~ Willy Wonka

In looking up the quote, I realized that it in fact a reference to a line from the Merchant of Venice.

“How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.”  ~ William Shakespeare

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions.  I figure if something is important enough to take action, I should just do it regardless of the time of year.  But this New Year’s Eve volunteer experience with my son, while brief, makes me think that I should make a resolution for 2013.  This year, I will be on the lookout for opportunities to do good deeds, both small and big, at home and abroad, acknowledged and unacknowledged.   In 2013, I resolve to see how far a little candle can throw its beams.

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8 thoughts on ““So Shines A Good Deed In A Weary World”

    1. Thank you, Sarah! But I think, sometimes, that when someone (more specifically, me) is trying to do good on the macro level, they (me) sometimes lose sight of doing good on the micro level. I think it is important to do good at both levels. Taking in the neighbor’s paper, filling the car with gas for your spouse, calling a friend who is going through a tough time. Good deeds come in all shapes and sizes – that’s what I’m going to try to keep front and center this year. (Wishing you and Mr. B and the kitties a very happy 2013!)


  1. It’s fabulous when kids lead the way. After Sandy, children made PBJs and other sandwiches for kids who lost everything. So many little candles – will share the link. May their light will shine even brighter.


    1. Well said! Thank you for commenting and sharing the link. People often think that problems in our world are so big that they can’t make a difference, but the truth is that every single good deed matters – even if you never know how much. That’s why I love, love, LOVE the analogy with the candle. You just never know how far that small light may shine. Best wishes for 2013!


    1. Yes, and I would add “well done!” to the parent/coach who organized their participation. Hockey is a sport that is very expensive, so the coaches felt that it was important that the boys (who are 10 and 11) balance that “taking” with some “giving”. I really appreciate that. I also love your expression “Good deeds never go amiss.” My mantra for 2013! Best wishes, Jennifer


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