Daily Archives: March 25, 2011

If Everybody Does Just a Little


James on his 16th birthday

Each Wednesday I pick up my eldest grandson James  from school, spend time with him,have dinner with the family and stay the night.  I am really enjoying the one on one time with a 16 year old before his parents get home from work.

Unfortunately,  he is still in the monosyllabic state of teenagers and most questions are answered with yes, no, maybe etc.  But occasionally we have a break through and he talks about some of the things that bother him.  This week it was racism.  Sadly, and particularly with the some members of the older generation, it is alive and well in New Zealand.

We don’t have apartheid as demonstrated for all those many years in South Africa but we do have an insidious and underlying feeling among some that while all men (and women) are created equal some are more equal than others.

There is hope for our pleasant land and the rest of the world,  if the members of the younger generation are noticing this and talking about it with their peers, parents and grandparents.


On my way home every Thursday, after dropping James at school,  I see this elderly gentleman and his old dog, walking along the side of the road picking up litter and dropping it into a plastic supermarket bag.  I don’t know how much ground he covers but he is there every Thursday without fail.  Does he do it on other days as well?  I suspect that he does as part of his daily routine, walking his dog, picking up litter etc etc.

What a difference it would make to our world if we all did just a little bit.  As we know there is an incredible power in small things.  The compounding power of many small things/steps can create something very big.  Small details that nobody else notices or thinks of can separate you from the rest of the pack.

Can you imagine the difference to the highway if everybody picked up just the litter that they saw.  We pride ourselves on our Green land here in New Zealand, but we still have those people who are careless with their litter.

And it’s not just litter collecting.  You can be extraordinary by doing small things.

Imagine a doing a few small acts of kindness every day with each one making a difference to someone else.  It need cost you nothing and it would benefit you as well as the recipient.  What a legacy and an example you would leave for your family and others.

A compliment to a harried salesperson, a word of encouragement to a friend or colleague, a small act of helping a neighbor or even a complete stranger.  This is where you see the incredible power of small things.

Yes there is still room for the amazing feats of boldness but the everyday acts of kindness are equally, if not more important to us and our world.

Today’s quote comes from Ellen Swallow Richards 1842-1911, American Scholar and Ecologist.

“The environment that people live in is the environment that they learn to live in, respond to and perpetuate.  If the environment is good, so be it.  But it is poor, so is the quality of life within it”