“I can’t change the world by myself.” Have you ever heard someone say that? It’s not true at all — there are countless examples of individuals who literally transformed the world. And, each of us can do much more than we think.
One Random Act of Kindness At a Time
Some people changed the world through kindness, like Mother Teresa and Gandhi, while others did so through adventure, discovery and invention, like Columbus, Issac Newton and Thomas Edison. We have countless examples throughout history of people who quite literally, changed the world. Now of course we ourselves may never have a dramatic, sweeping impact on the world, but that doesn’t mean that every single one of us doesn’t have the power to shape our world for the better.
The power of kindness and generosity when used by one person may not seem like much, but it only seems that way. The power of being and doing good, can be monumental when we look at the collective power of shared kindness. Jesus is of course the one who has changed the world in the most important way and He taught us how to continue those good works:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” – Galatians 6:9-10
This short story is a wonderful lesson in how being kind and doing good works, can make all the difference in the world:
Every Sunday morning I take a light jog around a park near my home. There’s a lake located in one corner of the park. Each time I jog by this lake, I see the same elderly woman sitting at the water’s edge with a small metal cage sitting beside her.
This past Sunday my curiosity got the best of me, so I stopped jogging and walked over to her. As I got closer, I realized that the metal cage was, in fact, a small trap. There were three turtles, unharmed, slowly walking around the base of the trap. She had a fourth turtle in her lap that she was carefully scrubbing with a sponge brush.
“Hello,” I said. “I see you here every Sunday morning. If you don’t mind my nosiness, I’d love to know what you’re doing with these turtles.”
She smiled. “I’m cleaning off their shells,” she replied. “Anything on a turtle’s shell, like algae or scum, reduces the turtle’s ability to absorb heat and impedes its ability to swim. It can also corrode and weaken the shell over time.”
“Wow! That’s really nice of you!” I exclaimed.
She went on: “I spend a couple of hours each Sunday morning, relaxing by this lake and helping these little guys out. It’s my own strange way of making a difference.”
“But don’t most freshwater turtles live their whole lives with algae and scum hanging from their shells?” I asked.
“Yep, sadly, they do,” she replied.
I scratched my head. “Well then, don’t you think your time could be better spent? I mean, I think your efforts are kind and all, but there are fresh water turtles living in lakes all around the world. And 99% of these turtles don’t have kind people like you to help them clean off their shells. So, no offense… but how exactly are your localized efforts here truly making a difference?”
The woman giggled aloud. She then looked down at the turtle in her lap, scrubbed off the last piece of algae from its shell, and said, “Sweetie, if this little guy could talk, he’d tell you I just made all the difference in the world.”
The Moral of the Story: Each one of us can change the world. Maybe we can’t change the world right away but a single good deed will resonate with the rest of the world. Make every day count by knowing that you are capable of so much good, you just need to be brave to make the world a better place!
– Author unknown
We mustn’t ever let the world cause us to lose hope or become jaded. Being kind and loving and doing good for others is a blessing and if more of us would accept our awesome personal power, we could quite literally change the world. There are almost countless ways we can be kind and do good, and here are just a few:
- Smile, be polite and friendly
- Donate money or other needed resources to charity
- Volunteer at a charity
- Listen and be the friend a lonely person may be looking for
- Teach and guide: share your skills and knowledge
- Help animals in need
- Protect nature
- Accept people for who they are: judge not and instead, accept and tolerate
- Offer encouraging words to those who need a morale boost
- Advocate for the underdog: write your elected Representatives to get vulnerable people some help
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg — kindness matters, so if we always lead from a place of love, compassion, generosity and understanding, it will indeed change the world.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” —Leo Buscaglia