Last week we received over 20 letters from a 4th grade class in Durham, NC that we visited this past fall to teach about honey bees and sustainability. Ms. Fussell, their wonderful teacher, had the students write letters to the companies we work with across North Carolina to thank them for sponsoring Bee Downtown beehives at their businesses. While I was going through the letters, all of which were fantastic, sweet C.J.’s letter made me stop as it sent chills down my spine.
“THAT IS WHY WE NEED YOU. TO STOP PEOPLE FROM KILLING BEES. IF THEY DO NOT STOP, YELL. AS LOUD AS YOU CAN. AND THEY WILL STOP.”
I STOPPED and then re-read the words this fourth grader wrote. What conviction he had. What a deep understanding he has for the true risk we are at if the honey bees were to disappear. I’ve been thinking through these words over the last week, as they have relit a fire back inside me.
Through education we have the ability to truly create a change in the way the next generation of world leaders think of not just the world, but of the companies we support by giving them our business.
Young C.J. gets it. He, and all of his classmates get it. They value companies that care and will not support companies that don’t. And according to C.J., he will yell and make noise until they stop doing harm to the planet.
I want to be like C.J.. I want to make noise. I want Bee Downtown to continue to grow and be a mouthpiece for what it means to try to create a true and lasting change. Because as we grow, and other companies and people who care for the Earth also grow, we will begin to make noise. We will collectively be able to yell, and for the first time ever, all of our businesses simultaneously yelling will garner the attention of the world.
Together our voices will be multiplied and our shouts will ring loud and clear. As we yell, the beautiful people that support all of our companies will begin to yell as well, and that sound will be multiplied again, ten-fold. Our voices will change from a whisper, drowned out by the jabber of big corporations, into a bellow. A bellow that comes from a place somewhere so deep within us all that it cannot be muffled or silenced. A bellow so loud that it causes businesses and world leaders alike to stop and stare in awe at what incredible noise a group of David’s in a world full of Goliath’s can create.
To me, I do not see C.J.’s words as a call for a hateful attitude towards people, but in his innocence he believes if you make enough noise, someone will have to stop and listen to you. To me, I see his words as a battle cry to create a noise that is good, that brings people in, that creates a team because we all know we are stronger together than apart.
There’s the saying you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. So as I yell, as Bee Downtown yells, as SAS yells, as Capitol Broadcasting Company yells, as IBM yells, as Bandwidth yells, as C.J. and his classmates yell, we ask that you begin to yell too. We ask that you will join us, and all the other companies that have begun to yell, to show the world we no longer stand for the traditional status quo, because we too want to be like our friend C.J..
Written by: Leigh-Kathryn Bonner, Founder/CEO, Bee Downtown