Conversations That Matter
Tohomina Akter attempts to feed her daughter Adia, 17 months, in Char Baria village, Barisal, Bangladesh, on Thursday, April 19, 2012. Tohomina finished 7th grade and hopes she can help educate her daughter to be a doctor. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)
By Mary Pat Brennan
Do conversations matter? Do my conversations matter? Do yours? If conversations are about connecting with others then the morning conversation with my housemate over coffee, the Skype chat with my daughter, and the small talk I make on the elevator all matter, even if only to me and perhaps one other person.
But some conversations matter more than others. Some have the power to inform and plant seeds for the future–and even contribute to making the world a better place.
When we discuss maternal and child nutrition during the critical 1,000-day window between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday, we’re having a conversation that could change the world. According to information in Bread for the World Institute’s 2013 Hunger Report , “[h]unger during this time is catastrophic, because the resulting physical and cognitive damage is lifelong and irreversible.”
Conversations enable us to connect and construct meaning. We leave conversations changed. When we receive new information, we begin to think differently, and often act differently. Our priorities change. We become not just “hearers” but “doers” who “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.” We may even unite with others so that our legislators and political leaders know that policies that alleviate hunger here in the United States and in developing countries matter.
Our conversations can change the world, so start making your conversations matter to hungry people. Join the 1,000 conversations initiative and pledge to have 1,000 conversations about maternal and child nutrition in 1,000 days.
Mary Pat Brennan is a program management and capacity building professional and a member of Women of Faith for the 1,000 Days Movement.
[This post originally appeared on the 1,000 Days blog.]
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