“i want to make a difference”

I don’t have any formal research on this, but I think I’d be correct in saying that the majority of teachers would agree with the statement: “I chose to become a teacher because I wanted to make a difference.”  Even though I’m just getting started in the teaching world, I have already felt that making a difference is one of the most rewarding parts of what we do.  Watching students go from sulky and resistant to excited and engaged…bonding with a student who has never bonded with anyone…making a difference.

In my high school years (all two of them….?) I was almost obsessed with the idea that I was going to make a difference in the world.  I frequently lamented that I was so limited in what I could “really” do for others.  Even now, having poured love, attention, and hours of lesson planning into the lives of over 200 students throughout the course of my degree completion, I sometimes wish I could do something more.  Something bigger.  Something that “really” makes a difference.

Over the past few weeks, though, I’ve been thinking about the people around me who make a difference, and who have positively impacted me in some way.  Oddly enough, I haven’t been thinking so much about the professors, counselors, mentors, and so forth.

I’ve been thinking about a barista.  A CVS employee.  A city bus driver.  A waiter at a Korean restaurant.  A Dollar Tree cashier.

In the course of their work days, each one of these people went out of his or her way to be very friendly, helpful, and kind.  Nothing they did or said was worthy of a Yahoo news article or a spot on Good Morning America — but it made my day and I will never forget any of them.

No matter where you or I are, what we do can make a positive difference in the lives of people we meet.  I don’t know if the people I mentioned above were Christians or not, but I do know that Christians more than anyone should be the people who touch the lives of others in a simple way every single day.  If you are someone who wants to make a difference, know that you can, you probably are, and I do notice.

What is the most special thing a stranger has ever done for you?


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