During the past few years we have been encouraged to honor the work of Martin Luther King, Jr., through a day of service. Instead of simply enjoying a day off work and giving the stores another excuse for a sale, we are encouraged to volunteer or to work on civic-minded projects. I think that the request would have honored and humbled this brave man.
The expectation of service was instilled in me throughout my childhood. Although they worked in two different fields, both of my parents dedicated their professional endeavors to helping others. I saw the intrinsic rewards that they received when they came home after a long day, knowing that a life was improved because they went to work that morning. That type of dedication is not compensated monetarily.
Scott is a special education teacher in the local public high school. Because of his efforts through pioneering a school internship program, he has provided numerous otherwise "unemployable" students with the work skills necessary to obtain and maintain fulfilling employment upon graduation. I have seen the sacrifice and the long hours that he devotes to his program. Robby and I are both very proud of him.
Before Robby was born, I was a teacher for the blind, specializing in babies. I loved my work. There was a satisfaction that came from knowing that somebody's day was improved because I was there to help. In a small way, I was making a difference.
Since Robby was born, I have opted to stay home with him. I love being his Mommy and watching him grown and learn. This being said, I miss the feeling which came from making a positive impact.
With the coverage of the recent tragedy, though, I find myself wanting to do more. My talents seem insufficient to help. Our monetary contributions seem meager compared to the scope of the tragedy. I suddenly feel inadequate.
I am certain that I am not the only person overwhelmed by the troubles in the world. When the needs are so great, making an impact seems impossible. I suspect that acquaintances of Martin Luther King, Jr., told him that racism and bigotry were too big to be overcome. Undeterred, he was able to assemble the masses and force change.
I am trying to remind myself that sometimes the biggest impact can be made through the smallest gesture. I may not be able to grab a shovel and dig through the rubble in Haiti, but I can help a lonely neighbor or a scared new amputee. A kind word or an attentive ear may be lifeline for a friend in need. No, I won't be able to change the world, but maybe I can help improve the world for just one person. Today, that is my goal.