RAY'S READINGS: Our choices, attitudes have lasting impact
April 29. 2014 1:54PM
A few years ago my nephew came home from his first day in the first grade. I asked him how things had gone.
“Terrible,” he announced.
Naturally I tried to get to the bottom of his difficulty, and finally the truth of the matter came out.
Looking up at me, he blurted, “There’s three boys and 10 million girls!”
That was then, of course, and today, I’m certain my nephew would relish those odds. Naturally, he exaggerated, but at that stage of life, he literally felt overwhelmed by the numbers.
That’s an easy state go get into, incidentally. Just get stuck in any rush hour traffic jam and you can very easily feel overwhelmed by the numbers.
When we begin feeling that way, it’s fairly easy to begin feeling insignificant. I’m only one car among all these other cars on the highway. What can I do? I’m only one human being among all the human beings on this planet. What can I do?
Yes, it’s easy to feel that way. When we perceive ourselves as tiny and unimportant; when we perceive ourselves as not mattering the scheme of things; when we begin to look at what we do as incidental and insignificant in a cold and unfeeling world; when we do these things, it’s easy to adopt an attitude of “Why bother? It doesn’t matter anyhow.”
Of course we all feel that way from time to time – we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. It is important, however, that we recognize this for what it is – a momentary setback; a time when we are momentarily overwhelmed by the demands of the day-to-day world.
We are important, each and every one of us, and what we do does make a difference. It makes a difference now, tomorrow and the day after.
Why should I vote in elections, for example? My vote is only a single mark among many. If I don’t vote it wouldn’t change anything. I’m only one person.
What is one vote? I’ll tell you. Thomas Jefferson was elected president by one vote in the Electoral College. So was John Quincy Adams. Rutherford B. Hayes was elected to Congress by a margin of one vote. California, Washington, Texas, Idaho and Oregon gained statehood by one vote and the 17th president, Andrew Johnson, was impeached and acquitted by one vote.
We do make a difference, each and every one of us. If we give up, if we feel that we cannot make a difference, then the difference we make will be a negative one. If, however, we know that what we do now will have an effect tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, then we will do our best at all times; and that best will make a positive and glowing contribution to our school and community.
It has been said that to get anywhere in this world, you have to know someone important; you have to know yourself.
Knowing yourself and what you can and cannot do, trying to do your best in each and every situation; believing that what you do today is important and will effect tomorrow; striving with this in mind, do what you can when you. Doing this will make school and community a better place for everyone in it.
Just imagine a place filled with people who know what they do will make a difference, and who strive consciously to make that difference a positive good for everyone.