Do you want to make a difference? Most everyone answers yes. Stories of those who have actually gone out and done so are hugely popular.
You want to make a difference. But what have you done to do so? Maybe you drop a dollar in the donation jar at the register. Maybe you give Santa a few bucks as he rings his Salvation Army-issued bell outside the Walmart. Maybe you even signed up for one of those “Adopt a Child” programs.
But what have you done, really?
You fed a child for a day, for a month. Your purchase helped buy schoolbooks for a classroom in Africa. Your donation helped the homeless shelter reach out to another family.
What is all that? What does it mean to make a difference?
Maybe it isn’t even about them. It could be about many things, depending on who you talk to. Bettering the lives of others, helping the less fortunate, saving the world…
It’s about YOU. You, the one donating your hard-earned cash. You, spending a little extra time with someone. You, giving some sort of inconsequential gift to someone who has less.
Do you see? Those are what makes the difference. It isn’t feeding the children in Africa; it’s not building houses in Mexico; it’s not even standing for hours dishing out warmed-over soup in a homeless shelter.
Those matter, but not everyone can do it. But there are other things…
It’s the brief smile you give a child, the extra ten seconds you wait to hold the door for someone. Spend an extra five or ten dollars and pay for the one behind you in the coffee line. Strike a conversation with someone while waiting for the bus. Carry groceries out to the car for an older lady.
It’s those smaller acts that change the world. Because when it comes down to it, it becomes about you. Those acts don’t change others as much as, eventually, it changes yourself. And by changing yourself, you can reach so many others.
It has to start somewhere. Start it in the grocery line.