The story of the hummingbird
10 January 2017
Kate Sanders, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator
A few weeks ago I was listening to the radio as I was driving to work. It was in the week of the BBC’s annual Children in Need appeal and Chris Evans was auctioning a number of enticing lots. These included: 24 hours eating and drinking with the Michelin starred chef Tom Kerridge in a Pop-Up Picturehouse; the opportunity to attend Chris Evans’ Dine and Disco event; and the chance to hire Take That for the day. As I was listening, I was amazed at the amounts of money that some people were bidding e.g. in excess of £10,000 to go to the Pop-Up Picturehouse!! But at the other end, people were donating £5.00 by text, which entered them into a draw for tickets to the Dine and Disco. Meanwhile a battle royale was also underway between two callers to hire Take That. This auction was running in the hundreds of thousands. During the frenzy, I found myself thinking about the different resources that people have available to them and how they choose to use them to help others.
About 10 minutes before the phone lines closed and the auctions ended, the frenzy was interrupted by a ‘Pause for Thought’ by Remona Aly. She told the story of a south American humming bird who tried to put out a raging fire. The little bird flew backwards and forwards to a lake, filling her beak with water, whilst other creatures watched on, telling the bird not to bother as she was too little and she might get hurt and after all, she wouldn’t be able to put the fire out. The humming bird responded by saying ‘I’m doing what I can’. Remona argued that this fighting spirit, the need to do what we can, is the essence of the Islamic attitude, and suggested that giving what we can, however small can make us feel empowered.
As I was listening to the story, I was struck by the synergy between the auctions, where people were giving what they could, and the story. But it also made me think about what I see happening in health and social care. My role involves working with and hearing about people in caring roles, who are like the humming birds or the people offering text donations.