As a kid and young adult I wanted to change the world. I looked for opportunities to change the world in my small town, not a lot of luck. I got discouraged. If I moved I’d have more opportunities to change the world, or at least more opportunities to have an impact. Now I see that it was about perspective: if I opened my eyes to opportunities in front of me and saw my small town as a place of potential God could use me.
Today I was about to leave to go home when a colleague came to visit my classroom. What was meant to be a five minute ‘how ya doing’ chat turned into a half hour conversation about inspiring students, making a difference in our schools, and creating a school culture. I left the conversation with a smile on my face after having many a good laugh and hearing some insightful ideas. I hope he left feeling uplifted and validated: that someone listened and valued what he had to say and his ideas. You never know who could walk through your door. Be a listening ear. It could make a difference to someone who might not even know s/he needed a listener.
Be a friend:
A couple of months ago my friend told me that her husband would start working long hours and would I come by to visit since she would be having long day alone with her kids. Absolutely! I had fun playing with the kids and talking with her. I left each time feeling joyful and relaxed, looking forward to the next time, and I hope she felt like she had some much needed adult time. You never know who might need a friend and some company.
Random Acts of Kindness:
I’m an encouraging note kinda person, but I was inspired when I saw someone brushing the snow off colleagues’ cars at work. I thought, “That’s really nice of him. I should do stuff like that more.” There are plenty of websites out there on random acts of kindness. Here’s a large list. If you want to feel all warm and fuzzy inside and see photos of examples people actually did check this video out.
Changing the world starts with where you are right now, the opportunities already in front of you, and being open to new ones that come your way. I think in the end I realized my journey to change the world was really about showing people around me I care. Moving to a city just offers me the opportunity to show different types of people I care and in varying ways, but I can do the same with the people around me even in a small town.
Join me in making a difference wherever you find yourself.
May you find your purpose in making a difference in the lives of others.