Can one person really make a difference? Can you?
“Make a Difference Day”, a national day of doing good, is Saturday, October 22. It’s always the fourth Saturday of October as it has been for 22 years.
It struck me as a bit alarming that we have to have a special day to get people involved in making a difference. Then I thought, well, why not! It is not only a beginning, but an opportunity to reflect on what we have all ready accomplished and what more we can give. You don’t need to have monetary wealth to make a difference.
As a child, I learned I could make a difference. It wasn’t a text-book lesson. My mother was “the first one to bring a casserole”. Money, when I was growing up, was at times, scarcer than hen’s teeth. But my mother had a big heart. If someone wasn’t feeling well, had lost a family member, or just needed a friendly face to stop by, she’d make a casserole and drop it off. Through this small act, she enlarged her community and strengthened her surroundings. She made a difference.
There’s the professor who gives a blue ribbon to each student at the end of the school year with the words “Who I Am Makes A Difference” and explains to each student how their presence in his class had made a difference. One day the professor had the idea of expanding the tradition and he gave each student three ribbons. One to pass on to someone they thought had made a difference and two for that person to pass on. This small act saved a life.
Making a difference is not always easy. I have a friend trying to get a referendum on the ballot which if approved, would allow same-sex marriage. He has gone out knocking on doors to collect signatures. He knew not every person he approached would be friendly. Some would no doubt be mean and rude, and indeed they were, but out he went, doing his part to make a difference, one signature at a time.
One afternoon, a while back, I was telling a friend of my efforts to see no kid goes hungry. At the same time, we lamented that it never seems enough. He finished with “one kid is better than no kid”. Trying to make a difference is at times, overwhelming and discouraging.
So don’t try to save the world. Save a piece of it. Don’t limit what you do by looking at too big of a picture. Smile at your neighbor, wave to the mailman, rake your neighbor’s lawn, go without a meal and give what you saved to another who has less. Sometimes you’ll get a thank you, but most often you won’t and most often you’ll never know what difference you made.
Yes. Yes, you can make a difference. What will it be?