Inspired By My Teenager

This week, I am spotlighting one of my daughters. Ryan is almost 15 and she wrote this real account of a situation that occurred last weekend. This post is peppered with so much humor, truth, and life lessons…I had to share it with all of you. Please be encouraged to share this with your family and especially with your children. I also challenge you to go out there and Take Action as a result of being inspired by her words!

Because Together is Better,

As pretty much everyone in Arizona knows, there was a monumental and destructive rainstorm quite recently, causing many people immobility for hours. Arizona is commonly known for all of the dirt we have here, and that’s exactly what came rushing onto local streets everywhere due to the storm. Now, this rainstorm was unlike any petty “monsoon” most locals are used to. THIS storm was a reservoir, an ocean, a jumbo sized ice bucket challenge if you will, dumped onto Cave Creek with all the ferocity only god could conjure. In fact, most streets were closed off for an extensive amount of time due to the rushing rapids and such.

When school got out on this historic day, I had to go to a friend’s house and wait out the storm for a while… but knowing Arizona’s bipolar weather, it was sunny and 90 degrees after about an hour, meaning the roads were no longer closed off. While my friend was driving me home, we were about a street away from my house, and that’s when we saw a colossal sand mound stretching about 70 feet down the street and as wide as the road itself. The street was caked with dense dirt that was washed onto it from a nearby hill. In the process of barreling over the newly installed dirt highway, my friend and I looked to our right and saw a small old woman, probably in her sixties, with a push broom in hand, slowly trying to straighten out her front yard. “Poor thing,” I thought… but then we looked closer: This lady had on a neck brace! Now I really felt bad. Passing through her line of vision, we gave her sympathetic glances and drove up to my house.

A few days had passed, and the dirt was still there, slightly smaller than before. But this afternoon, my mom and I drove past her house and the lady was out there again…Push broom in hand, neck brace and all! I told my mom how badly my friend and I felt because after all, she was old AND had a broken neck. My mom quickly and almost jokingly suggested we should break out the old push brooms and join her, which I kind of dismissed until she brought it up again. Now, being the lazy teenager I am and due to the fact that I had just stuffed my tummy with a pound of nachos from Rubio’s, I didn’t exactly jump to the idea of hard labor in the 100 degree weather on a Saturday. But this little voice in my head kept nagging at me. So, instead of taking the glorious nap I was planning on when I got home, I grabbed the yard tools and my mom, Erin and I went down to that lady’s house.

Well I guess she had gone inside for a break or broke a hip or something, because when we got to the street in front of her driveway, she was gone. But you know what we did? We didn’t go home and take a nap, that’s for sure. We just started etching away at that mound of sand with our brooms, and let me tell you, using my dad’s old, duct tape covered push broom is bound to give you blisters within about 5 minutes of usage. So with our aching hands and sweaty, nacho filled bodies, we swept and swept and swept and swept. After about an hour, it looked good. It looked REALLY good. We had easily just pushed 200 pounds of sand off the road, and only had about 300 blisters each (thanks dad). So with the newly paved road and crippling backaches, we gathered our brooms and headed home.

Now I don’t know about any of you, but one of the best feelings ever is accomplishing something you weren’t even asked to do, and in this case, something we weren’t even supposed to do. Who knows if the neck brace lady will ever figure out we were the ones that swept up all the dirt in front of her house. But one thing’s for sure, we know. I think we all went home with a sense of selflessness this afternoon, because we helped someone with no intention of ever being found out or repaid. We may have impacted this old lady’s life forever by this one small act of kindness. So now I will go to bed content with myself, because I didn’t take the easy path and leave the work for her. I hope this story inspires everyone to go out there and do a nice thing for someone, because it feels better than any post-nacho Saturday afternoon nap, I promise.



  1. Dear Deanna,
    Great daughter you have ! Hello Ryan.

    The most important you say: :” ….we helped someone with no intention of ever being found out or repaid.” !

    If every human on our planet would be able to act, even just a very little, like this, it would be Great and bring our planet more in “Balance” again ! !

    Thanks !

    Hilde (universenergie Twitter + FB)

  2. I love that quote about the smallest act of kindness. It is very true. Most people wait for something big before they act, not realizing that you can make a difference in any small way you can. Start right where you are

  3. Awesome job Ryan…and mama, you’ve got to be beaming with pride right now! Nacho filled bellies and all!!

  4. Dov Shapira says:

    I guess I never knew you live in Scottsdale ….
    In 1994 we had a much bigger storms with two and half inches of rain in few hours.
    Phoenix was flooded. It took me four ours to drive back home, only 18 miles.

  5. Very Inspiring writings, I think your beautiful daughter has a talent in blogging. Congrats!

  6. Marjory Johnson says:

    I’m not only amazed she did this, but helped write this amazing story.

  7. Lisa Hodges says:

    Your daughter is an inspiration for teenagers!

  8. Thank you Deanna for sharing your daughter’s story. t touched my heart and inspired me to make that selfless choice to assist and be kind …hugs and blessings

  9. What a beautiful story Ryan…the best part is, you didn’t have to make it known that you did the clean up. As your quote says, “Maybe the most helpful thing you could say is not meant to be said with words.” You Rock!

  10. This is a truly inspirational story. I am moved by the smallest act of kindness, especially the anonymous kind. I’m going to have share this with my teenaged brand daughter. I know she will be encouraged to continue to reach out and be kind…in the long run it just makes a person Happy!

  11. DELIGHTFUL! Thank you Ryan for taking the time to write this story so you could share it with others. Very humorous and certainly inspirational. You can bet I’ll be showing it to my 12 and 20 year old sons! 😉

  12. Great job! So thoughtful.

  13. Good work, Ryan. May this be the first of many kind-hearted actions!

  14. That is wonderful. Good karma will surround those who do such good deeds!

  15. Tracy Davies says:

    What a wonderful Random Act of Kindness! I am guessing that “older” woman watched you gals from the window with tears of joy in her eyes. Or, maybe she thought some angels came down from Heaven to help her out!

    Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Awesome way to show how you care about others. Too many times we discount the youth of this nation only because the “bad” ones get all the press. You done good, kid. 🙂

  17. BethAnne Countrymen says:

    Great job Ryan!! You wrote such a beautiful article. I know your mom and dad are very proud of the young lady you are turning out to be. 🙂

  18. Kristy Heiliger says:

    So proud of Ryan. Way to go, way to lead, way to do something without expectation. Amazing act of compassion. Your aunts are very, very proud of you. Xo

  19. Now, that’s our girl!
    Way to go Ry, we are very proud of your thoughfulness as well as your flare for writing!
    I love you,

  20. I enjoyed reading your guest blog very much, Ryan. Great job on this and the broom work you did. It makes walking on that street a lot easier. Thanks.

  21. I am so proud of my granddaughter!…and my daughter!

    • Lisa Scott says:

      Great job Ryan, I wish more teenagers were as thoughtful! Of course, your Mom and Dad get a big job well done raising you that way!

  22. Cheryl Beck says:


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