Friday, April 23, 2010

Question of the Day #534

Last night I met a girl who is getting her Masters Degree in Social Work and Public Policy.

"Wow. That's amazing. You should be proud. You're going to change the world," I said.

"No, I'm not," she replied. "There are so many people out there with problems. If I save one person, there's just going to be somebody else with more problems right behind them."

"Okay, I can imagine it's overwhelming," I said. "But don't you believe that by positively impacting one person's life, they can positively impact another?"

"I don't know," she replied.

"If you don't know, you're in the wrong line of work," I said.

I woke up thinking about her. I've heard a similar theory regarding gang problems in LA. It's been compared to that arcade game "Whack a Mole." Put a gangster away and another pops up. I can see how it might feel that way for a social worker too.

But what if we applied that theory to everything? What if I didn't bother to recycle or use cloth bags to grocery shop because I figured my actions won't impact a global issue?

What if I decided it wasn't worth writing my stories because kids wouldn't learn something from them?

What do you think? Do you believe in a trickle down theory? Can we change the Earth, one reusable water bottle at a time? Can we make youth think, one story at a time?



  1. Yes. I think people need to keep fighting the good fight. One of my favorite quotes that keeps me going:

    To laugh often and much;
    To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
    To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
    To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
    To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
    To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
    This is to have succeeded.
    (usually attributed to Emerson, but others believe it to be from Bessie Stanley).

  2. I absolutely believe in the trickle down theory and "paying it forward". That's how I live my life and I'll teach my child to do the same. You never know what may result from a simple act of kindness and compassion.

  3. I know my day is improved if a stranger smiles or says hello. I think every good action we take, no matter how small, makes an impact and carries it forward.

  4. Yes Yes Yes and Yes again.
    Think of what just a smile can accomplish.
    Simple V, I love that quote.
    It should be our mantra.
    Keep the rippling going!!!!
    Yes, we can.

  5. You've gotta believe.

    Thanks Simply V for the fantastic quote and thank you Suzie for such a positive message today!

  6. That individual isn't going to last long before she burns out with that attitude. :(

    You've got to believe you can make a difference, even if it's small. And saving even one person can make a huge difference down the line.

  7. That reminds me of the story about starfish washed up on the beach and the lone man who was flinging them back in the ocean - one at a time. A passerby pointed out that there were so many dying starfish and this guy couldn't make a difference.

    The man held up a starfish and said "It makes a difference to this one" then flung it into the sea.

    We make a difference in our corner of the world no matter how many more moles pop up.

  8. Oh, absolutely! If you can make ONE person do something as simple as smile, you've already made the world a better place.

    In the meantime, we just gotta keep whacking the moles or else they'll take over.


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