Who makes a difference?


  It makes no difference who you are or what you look like, or used to look like – one of the facts of life is ageing and eventual death.  However, have you ever thought about what things about a person really makes a difference to you? Their physical appearance tells one story, but their actions tell us more. Mother Theresa physically was frail but it was not her fragility that we remember her by, but her actions.  There are many stories to tell about who has made a difference in people’s lives.  Recently at a Rotary Seminar I attended we heard a Chief Executive Officer of a famous football club tell of the impact his father had made on the life of a poor farmer in Russia. The story goes something like this: Ian’s father had read about how a particular farmer in Russia had scrounged around for a spare type for his tractor so that he could continue working on his land. Ian’s father said to his son “I’m going to buy that farmer a new tractor”. Through many emails, much lobbying, many hours of toil, and with the help of fundraising through Rotary, he achieved this goal. Ian’s father eventually travelled to Russia and met the farmer. It was Ian’s father that made a difference in the life of the Russian farmer!

Who makes a difference (or has made a difference) in your life? Do (have) you make a difference to anyone else’s life ?   As educators we aim to touch the lives of all of our students, particularly through our passion for teaching and our specialty area in the curriculum, but also through our genuine displays of care and concern for the young people in our charge.

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the ‘Peanuts’ comic strip. The original post can be found at http://www.funnycoolstuff.com/2011/06/25/peanuts-philosophy/.  (I have “Australianized some  the questions so substitute appropriate local names if reading from any other country, or just go to the link for the original).

You don’t have to actually answer the questions. Just ponder on them – read straight through, and you’ll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in Australia. 2. Name the last five Melbourne Cup winning jockeys. 3. Name the last five winners of the Miss Australia pageant. 4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize. 5. Name the last half dozen Gold Logie Winners. 6. Name the Australian Gold medal winners from the last 3 Olympic Games.

So how did you do?

The point is: none of us remember many of the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. With many, achievements are forgotten. Awards tarnish. Accolades & certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school. 2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time. 3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile. 4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special. 5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Easier? – The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not ones with the most credentials, the most money…or the most awards. They simply are the ones who care the most. 

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia” [Charles M Schultz]

”Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!” [Oscar Wilde]

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