This past saturday I went, alongside my fellow UNDOers (Artists from UNDOdigital: Puerto Rican Collective of Digital Artists) to an event called Converse Open Gym. There, we helped Brian Keith Miller with his Sole Plus efforts.
Brian gives blank sneaker templates to kids so they can design their hearts out and create a unique Converse Shoe. At the end, the winning child, would be given a new pair of Converse shoes. Brian will contact the winning child so he/she can go ahead an do it for real, painting over a new pair of Converse for a later event he’s planning where he’ll take the child and have him give the pair of shoes he/she designed to a poor / homeless or otherwise person with lots of needs. He works to make sure kids view other sides of reality and less fortunate people get shoes and help from his organization and Converse. Amazing, I know.
Heart Felt Gratitude
At the end of the event, a kid who was designing shoes earlier, came back with something in his hands. Brian was speechless when the kid told him he had found his iPad in a far away table. Someone had left it there.
He remembered the iPad belonged to my friend Brian and brought it back! Getting his vocal chords in order again, Brian told me to ask the kid his shoe size. In gratitude, Brian gave him a brand new pair of Converse shoes. The kid left dancing.
Giving the Benefit of the Doubt
Later, the boy’s Father came dragging hi son right in front of us. He was steaming. They boy managed to get away from his dad and came back to us. He said: “Tell him, it was you who gave me the shoes!” Before we could put all the pieces back together, the Father ran in, grabbed the boy by his arm and pushed him towards the crowd and the exit. I tried following, but it was to late.
A Huge Misunderstanding
Brian went to another Converse table, where his gift to the boy was being held. They told him, the angry father gave it back, believing his son had stolen the shoes.
Our fears were confirmed. The Boy’s Dad, couldn’t believe his son’s story. He jumped to conclusions and acted upon them. Then he took his family and ran out of the coliseum. We felt helpless.
Something to Think About
This whole experience with the boy and the shoes gave me lots to think about.
It made me realize how we jump to conclusions and bark orders to our children more often than not.
Also, how we should first listen to all the sides of a story before imparting any judgement. Even when the history of our child, tell us he can do mischievous things, we should try and listen. Maybe this time, they acted different. Lastly, it made me think that we should never loose hope on our children, if they are accustomed to doing bad things, we have to believe they can change.
How about it, any thoughts on this from you? I’d love to hear it!
Just found a picture of the boy in SolePlus’ Facebook page. So if anyone knows him, please let his parents know about this situation. Here’s the photo (he’s the one on the right, sitting down):