The most popular viral videos nowadays are seemingly pretty ephemeral. A cat has an amazing sense of the dramatic or the melodic laugh of a baby -- perhaps the latest episode of a teenage soap opera. On the flip side of this lies the inspirational -- videos that highlight an ability to transcend, if only for a moment, and be in the space of unconditional service. There's been many of these over the years and they have much to teach us. Here's my list of the most inspiring...
10) Ever heard the phrase, "He carried his team on his back"? The story of Dartanyon Crockett and Leroy Sutton takes it to the next level. These 2 high-school wrestlers took their team and community to new heights, and each carried the other to do it.
9) Meet your new favorite restaurant: Seva Cafe. Part of a growing movement of pay it forward restaurants, your meal costs $0.00 -- because it was paid for by an everyday Joe who ate there before you. How will you pay-it-forward?
8) What's your favorite rendition of America's national anthem? I'll take Natalie Gilbert's rendition. When she faltered while singing prior to a basketball game, the whole arena came to her aid. Witness what a 20,000 person safety net feels like.
7) You'll be hard-pressed to find a more reflective singer than the Hasidic Jewish reggae rocker (yes, you read that right), Matisyahu. Recently selected as the official song of the Olympic games, Matisyahu's anthem of oneness, One Day, speaks to the resolve of continuing to work for peace.
6) There's a major buzz today about using business to help the world. Carrotmob is an example of a group that has taken the idea and applied it to all levels, including grassroots actions, that any one of us can do.
5) Can a hug really be all that powerful? Meet Juan Mann, who not only believes it can, but started a movement of "free hugs" all around the world. Reminds a person of the number one cause of happiness in this world: connection with our fellow man.
4) Too many times, I've thought to myself "If only [insert cause of pain here] were to go away, then I'd be happy." This animated short quickly drives home the obvious truth without speaking a single word -- freedom and joy are always within our grasp.
3) Who was your favorite teacher growing up? For graduates of the PS-22 school in New York, Gregg Breinberg is the overwhelming favorite. There is no more powerful statement in favor of music education in schools than the story of these amazing fifth graders. They have found a sense of place and confidence, and have even performed for Presidents!
2) Jorge Munoz seems like a regular guy when you meet him. He drives a school bus for a living, and comes home to a modest abode. He has also been cooking for and feeding hundreds of homeless people in his city every night for many years!
1) There is so much that can be said as a preface for the unbelievable story of father-son tandem Rick and Dick Hoyt, but I'll just say it is simply the most inspiring video on the web...
All of the aforementioned videos offer the opportunity to participate. The story themselves last only so long, but if we can practice the values shown, we may have a movement that could change ourselves, and our society.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
*All videos selected from karmatube.org, a portal for inspirational video. Be the change you wish to see in the world!