One Person Can Change the World


Today was our advisor/advisee day at school. Our counselor spoke to us about how small the earth is in comparison to the sun and how small we may feel as an individual on this huge earth.

It’s all about perspective. Sometimes our self-worth makes us feel huge and other times we feel smaller than the smallest grain of sand. When we think about the size of the Earth in comparison, we feel that we can’t have that great of an impact because we’re too small.

However, if we compare the Earth to the sun, well, the Earth is now the grain of sand and seems insignificant.

Can one person make a difference in this world?

A few different staff members presented on how small groups of local people (including a student group from school) work together to make a difference in both our local community and world-wide.

A little while later while discussing how being self-absorbed can keep us from making a difference in the world, I shared a story that blew my small group of kid’s minds. Many of you probably know people who do this annually. I don’t think any of my advisees had ever heard of this before, they were shocked.

I explained to them that some families have a tradition that after all the gifts are wrapped and under the tree, each child picks one (or more) gift that has their name on it to give to a child in need. Without knowing what’s inside the package, the child chooses to give one of their Christmas gifts away.

Questions started firing back at me. “Why?” or “What if they didn’t know they were giving away a big gift, like an iPod or a game system?”

The idea of giving away something that we want ourselves is incomprehensible to most adults. Their reaction didn’t surprise or upset me. I expected it, anticipated it, and used it to lead into another discussion.

“Even if we aren’t willing to give away our newest and best items, how many of us have many pairs of tennis shoes that sit in a pile in the floor?”

Hands shot up.

“How many of those do you wear regularly?”

After discussion we decided around two pair. It seems those extra tennis shoes sit around taking up space, collecting dust, and growing cobwebs.

I introduced them to the idea of the Shoeman Project (http://www.shoemanwater.org/). We talked about how those “extra” items we store in closets that are simply deteriorating could be items desperately needed by someone else.

We talked about looking at the toys and items we don’t play with anymore that could be given away to children who don’t have extras. We talked about simply giving up our time to go serve in a local food pantry or with our local Backpack Impact.

We talked about simply taking the time to help people when we see a need.

Do I believe one person can make a difference in the world?

Absolutely!!!! And I believe each of us DO make a difference in the world each and every day.

Minutes after we dismissed from this uplifting conversation, I walked my own teenagers to my husband’s vehicle. I glanced at his phone and saw he was waiting on a news site to load.

“Checking the weather?”

“No. There was a school shooting. Haven’t you all heard yet?”

We hadn’t. I’m actually glad I hadn’t heard until after our advisor/advisee group. See, the entire mood of our lesson would have changed if we would have been aware of the situation in Connecticut.

One person changed the world today. Unfortunately, they didn’t choose to change it for good. I will not pretend that I have any insight or understanding into what went on there today. I, like the rest of the world, am deeply saddened and heartbroken for the families and that community.

One person is actually all it takes to make a difference, good or bad, in our world. It is our choice how we put our difference into action.

About a month ago I participated in a fundraiser 5k in memory of a beautiful young girl that I was blessed to know for a very short time. The Ericka Wade Foundation has been set up in her memory to make a difference in this world. As I completed the course that Saturday, I made a point to look at people. To REALLY look at people.

Do we look at people, or do we look through people?

Folks, life on this earth is short. We are not guaranteed a next breath, let alone tomorrow. We may not ever get another chance to do the right thing, to make someone smile, or just to lend a helping hand.

There are a lot of hurting people in this world. Now, let me make that a little more personal since we seem to think our world is so big. There are a lot of hurting people in your community. Some of them wear their hurt like a banner, and are waving it wildly in hopes someone will help them. Some of them, however, are suffering silently. You may think they have everything together, but they need help probably more than the banner wavers.

Still feel like this doesn’t affect you personally? There is someone in your family that is hurting and needs help. One of your three closest friends is hurting and needs help. Chances are one of your neighbors is hurting and needs help. There’s a child within a mile from your front door that is hurting and needs help.

The time has come to stop looking through people and start looking into people. What’s in their hearts? What’s going on in their heads? How can we help meet their needs? Maybe it’s as simple as a meal. Perhaps it’s as complicated as easing them into counseling and professional help. But regardless, it’s time we stop ignoring each other and get involved.

Truth? You can’t help all of them. At least I don’t think one person is capable of immediately helping all of them on their own. However, I do believe that each of us is capable of helping one of them, and in helping one hurting person we will make a difference in the world.

That one person you choose to help could be the one person who is headed down the wrong road. You could be the turning point, the stumbling block, the answer to that person’s prayer.

Do I believe one person can make a difference in this world? Absolutely! Every day!!! By intentionally making the decision to help one person every day we can not only make a difference in this world, but we can change the world for good.
photo credit: Ed”>http://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/2905921539/”>Ed Yourdon via photopinhttp://photopin.com”>photopin> cchttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc>

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