Catalyst Social Experiment #4

I received a package in the mail yesterday afternoon from Catalyst.  Inside the package I found a moleskin journal and an envelope of names.  I opened the brown leather journal and read the challenge.  I had 24 hours to perform one of the 30 projects described in the first few pages of the journal, and then I had to send the journal on to the next person on the list.  For the next hour I was paralyzed – Which experiment can I accomplish in 24 hours?


I knew the challenge was coming but I didn’t know exactly when.  My initial reaction to the package was “Not today??!!”  My wife was out of town at a conference, and I was on kid duty.  (I have three ages 7, 5, and 3).  Over the next 24 hours I had to get my three kids to dental appointments at 9:40, be back at the house by noon for a garage door installation, and then have my youngest down for her two-hour nap by 1.  This didn’t leave a whole lot of time for random acts of kindness.  Well, I work best when my back is against the proverbial wall.  I needed a project that the kids could do with me, and hopefully get something out of.  I asked my oldest daughter, Claire, which one she wanted to do.  She chose


Experiment #4 – Buy 100 popsicles and pass them out to people that need a sweet this afternoon.


Now we needed to decide who needed a sweet treat.  I decided to make a call to one of my good friends Tony McGinnis.  Tony works for the Huntsville Housing Authority, and is a well respected person in an area of town that is under-resourced.  (Tony was raised in this area of Huntsville, played basketball for Texas A&M, has written a book, and is an incredible role model for these children).  I told him that I had 24 hours to give out 100 popsicles.  He got me connected to the Boys and Girls Club in the Sparkman Housing complex. 




The day worked out perfectly!  Dentist appointments were done at 10:20.  Popsicles were bought by 10:50.  I let the kids choose the type of popsicles (Claire – Crayola Scriblers, Joshua – Superheros, and Claudia – Dora).  We arrived at the Boys and Girls Club at 11:15.  The kids were just finishing lunch.  We handed out popsicles to about 75 children and workers.  The excitement and look on their faces were priceless!


Thank you Catalyst for this challenge! 



  • This opportunity gave me the chance to dialog with my three kids about race, poverty, and why we would do something like this.  They had a lot of questions after we were done.  I plan to continue to expose them to other people’s realities as they grow older.
  • When we were driving home to meet the garage door repairmen, Claire said, “Dad, that was cool!  What project are we going to do tomorrow?”


I love it!  Faith like a child….




Filed under Community, Family

10 responses to “Catalyst Social Experiment #4

  1. Younger Brother

    Nice job! Inspiring. If we could all just do a little bit.

  2. poppi (younger mother!)

    We know our best learning is by doing.

    Creative (and fun!) expressions of compassion …
    you modeled … you taught … and together,
    Claudia, Joshua, Claire and YOU “lived the giving.”

    It doesn’t get any better than how you gave … and received today!

    Poppi is proud! 😉

    Might you say a little more about the Catalyst challenge? How did you get into it? How do others participate? What will Catalyst do with the journals when they have made their ways back to them? Maybe even more about your experience with Catalyst … who/what they are and how others can be connected, too.

  3. Larry- Your friend is proud of you too. We tell our children we need to be kind, have tolerance and give back to those who are not as fortunate- you show your children. I want to show mine too… you are inspiring me…

  4. Awesome post Larry! Thanks for being one of the first of 900 stories like this…

  5. Atsirk

    I love it! Amongst all the stuff in the day you found a way to make it happen. I love that the kids were involved! Great job Bird!

  6. Pingback: Jeff Shinabarger

  7. Interesting! I haven’t listened to the Catalyst podcast recently. I’ll have to check it out.

  8. Great job…simple idea. Just for hahas, what were some of the other projects?

    Thanks for being faithful!

  9. sigmugi

    Thanks to all of you that have responded to this post. The experience was really good. It keeps coming up in conversation with my oldest daughter. I hope you all continue to follow the projects on the Catalyst website. I am going to refrain from writing about the other projects just in case someone down the list is reading this. The spontaneity of the responses is what makes this experiment really exciting. I look forward to reading about the other projects!

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