I believe in the importance of making a difference in the world for the better and I believe it’s a responsibility each of us has. A few months ago, I had the opportunity to give a speech about making the world better through service to others. Today I thought I’d share a brief excerpt from what I said:
“The endeavor to better the world is timeless.
Florence Nightingale was born in another century, to the upper class in society, but she would have none of it. Instead, her great desire was to relieve pain and suffering, so she became expert in nursing. She headed the Scutari hospital during the Crimean War; the situation when she arrived was one of absolute despair: the hospital was an old warehouse, wounded men were crowded in rooms that reeked of foul odors; the air was filled with the cries of the suffering.
Florence set to work amid beds that held suffering men stretching over four miles and within 6 months, order reigned and the rate of death had fallen from 42 per hundred to 22 per thousand. Suffering was reduced. Lives by the thousands were saved.
No other woman in the history of the world has done as much to reduce human misery as this lady with the lamp. In our century, I’ve been inspired by many people who endeavor to make the world a better place. Today I’d like to tell you about one in particular, a 2nd grader, my son, tasked with “making the world a better place” as a school homework assignment.
He decided he would improve the world by helping a little boy who lost his leg to cancer so he set a goal to earn $10 and donate it the foundation the boy and his family founded to help families of children with childhood cancer.
That was a big endeavor for an 8-year-old who didn’t receive an allowance, but he created a product to sell for $1, he turned our dining room table into a production line and enlisted the help of siblings, neighbors, cancer patients and their families, anyone he could find!) to help. He sold his product at 3 Colorado elementary schools and ended up making not a $10 difference in the life of a young cancer patient…but a SEVEN HUNDRED AND NINETY-SIX DOLLAR difference!
Isn’t it amazing what one person, even a little boy, can do to make a positive impact in the life of another? To this day, that Colorado foundation makes and sells the product designed by my son when he was in 2nd grade as their primary fundraising effort.
You really can change the world if you care enough: one dollar at a time. One little, 2nd grader at a time. One willing person who acts on a generous thought and desires to make a difference in the world. The power of one.”