The Reason I Pick Up Paperclips

I have an unusual habit – picking up paper clips I find on the sidewalk. My partner, Barbara, will confirm that no matter how twisted or tarnished or embedded in a sidewalk crack, I insist on picking up the clip. I take it home and put it with my ever-growing collection.  I do so for a very good and heart-filling reason. Several years ago, I was deeply moved by the documentary Paper Clips about Whitwell Middle School’s extraordinary experiment in Holocaust education.

Struggling to grasp the concept of six-million European Jewish and other victims, the students decided to collect six-million paper clips to better understand the extent of the Holocaust. By the time they were finished the children had collected many more, closer representing the millions of people in other groups who also were victims of the genocide. So, each time I see a paper clip it tugs at my heart, and I pick it up, put it in my pocket, and take it home to honor the victims, and those incredible children.

Often it is the smallest things that remind us of what is most important in life.  I encourage you to watch the film. Then I challenge you to begin picking up the paper clips you find. It is an unusual practice that will always satisfy your soul.