One chicken cut into 8s please


Contribution can sound like an awfully big and important word. It can add pressure to our existence as if we have to find something that we own or do that is sufficiently significant to ‘bring to the party’.

When in preschool, my now 26-year-old son, attended a small private school in the Perth hills which turned out to be a haven for ‘dinner party mums and dads’. I am in no way trying to typecast people but there was a tendency for intense competition for food preparation and presentation that preceded Master Chef or MKR – in fact, the same group of people could be the ‘missing link’ in that particular evolutionary chain.  I was somewhat naïve to this nuance although looking back there were numerous indicators. At the end of the first year, there was a parents’ get together and request to ‘bring a plate’. As usual, my life was full and I turned to the old favourite – a hot chicken cut into eights that I even took the time to put onto a plate rather than hand over in the original packaging. Everything was going swimmingly until the meal and I realised that my ‘plate’ was the obvious answer to the ‘what here is not like the others?’ question. In a sea of homemade ‘vol au vents’, apple cider, spinach and asparagus pastries, and macaroons lay a limp chicken on an even limper bed of lettuce. Of course, I completely ignored my meagre offerings (as did everyone else) and at the end of the evening, forgot I had even taken a plate to the event. As we walked to our car, I turned to my husband and said, ‘Hey I think we’ve left our plate. Can you nip back and grab it?’ He looked at me intelligently – he hadn’t missed our narrow miss from disaster – no words were spoken. We just kept walking.

That is sometimes how we can feel about our contribution: is it good enough, big enough, significant enough?

But take the pressure off.

Instead, think one act at a time, one person at a time, one contribution at a time.

I often reflect that if each of us helped and supported one person then our society would be very different. If we committed to walk one other person through difficult times, encourage their achievements, and call them on to stretch and remain curious.

This kind of contribution is magnificent.

It may look a small contribution to outsiders – who cares?

To insiders (those starring in the story), that kind of contribution is life changing. 

So, let’s keep growing our world.

One person at a time…

About Kelley

Kelley is a speaker, author, overseas aid worker and perpetual student. She is passionate about women and gender issues, both in the local and international context, which underpins her enthusiasm for kinwomen and its contribution to women ‘living their finest life’. In 2014 Kelley completed a Masters in International and Community Development before establishing The Foxglove Project. Foxglove is a registered charity focused on supporting international development projects that are sustainable and driven by indigenous leadership. Kelley’s paid work requires her to travel extensively to evaluate and support projects supported by Australian funds. This experience and networking enables Foxglove to partner with outstanding overseas agencies delivering real opportunities for the poor and vulnerable to lead independent self-determined lives. Kelley combines these passions with a love of family and faith. Across more than 30 years of marriage, Kelley and her husband have worked through many of the challenges of building a relationship while raising three sons. Their boys have now finished high school changing the dynamics of family life and relationships. One of her great joys is sharing parenting lessons and learning from good and bad (sometimes disastrous) experiences. She uses humour and common sense to talk about the everyday challenges facing parents in today’s context.