How to Change the World

None of us can do anything great on our own, but we can all do a small thing with great love. Mother Teresa

I believe Mother Teresa would agree that no act of great love is ever truly a “small thing.”

I recently had the privilege of hearing Greg Mortenson talk about the story of Three Cups Of Tea. Greg’s story inspires and motivates. He’s living proof that one man can make a huge difference.

Greg caught a vision, and decided to raise money to build a school in a remote area of northern Pakistan. His grassroots efforts have currently established 78 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan and brought liberty through literacy to thousands of children. He’s produced a mega best-selling book, and he speaks to military and political leaders.

I think we can all learn much about passion and courage from this tale, but I also think there’s danger in Greg’s message. To anyone who’s inspired but also overwhelmed by his story, I’d offer this sage advice: you don’t have to be a world-changer to change the world.

I fear that many people hear and admire Greg’s story, but nothing really changes for them. They’re so sure they could never do something so amazing and world-changing, so they do nothing.

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, setting out to accomplish a project so overwhelming (like The Crazy Quest ) that people question your sanity. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Each of us can change the world right where we are right now. In Mother Teresa’s words, we do great things when we do everyday things with great love.

Greg’s legacy was shaped by teachers and parents and friends who simply did their jobs. It was spurred by kids tossing pennies in a jar to support Pennies For Peace. Like all great accomplishments, it happened because a lot of people played their part, right where they happened to be. Individually, none of them looks like a world-changer, but collectively they changed the world. That’s how it works.

The world needs passionate cooks and firefighters and soldiers and teachers who value every person. We need people who fulfill their daily responsibilities with great love.

I believe that God cares much less about what I do than with how I do it. I believe that He values consistent character above fame and accomplishment.

The people and circumstances I encounter are important. I change the world by representing Jesus and His love right here, right now.

How can you change the world today?

When your heart speaks, take good notes. Greg Mortenson

Hilton Head Schools – Another World-Class Amenity

Schools are one of the most important features of any community. Before moving to a new community, parents almost always take a good, hard look at the area’s schools. They want to know whether or not their children will get a good education that will prepare them for the world of work and adult responsibilities. This island is famous as a great vacation destination, but parents thinking of living there need to know if the island’s schools will serve their children well.

Fortunately, the schools serve their clientele very well and can be counted as yet another of the island’s many world-class amenities. The area’s public schools are among the top schools in the Beaufort County School District, a district known for innovation in education. There are first-rate programs available for students of all ages, including the rigorous International Baccalaureate program. There are also several options for parents who prefer private schools.

The public schools are located on a common centralized campus, providing a great deal of convenience for families with children in multiple schools. In addition, the common campus provides continuity for longtime students, who will attend school within the same geographic area from kindergarten through graduation. The schools are separated, however, by distinct entrances and parking lots joined by a common campus road, maximizing convenience while still keeping each school separate.

The island’s elementary school offerings include Hilton Head Island International Baccalaureate Elementary School and the Hilton Head School for the Creative Arts. Parents who want their children to explore the greater world from an international perspective through the world-class IB program should definitely consider this school. If you are a parent of a creative, hands-on child who is constantly building or painting, you should definitely consider the Hilton Head School for the Creative Arts. The school’s arts infusion programs promote strong problem-solving skills and provide the many added benefits inherent with any arts program.

For parents of younger children, there is also the Hilton Head Island Early Childhood Center, which emphasizes student readiness to make sure that every child is ready when it is time to enter the island’s elementary schools.

The world-class education offered at the island’s schools continues at Hilton Head Island Middle School and Hilton Head Island High School. The high school is nationally-ranked by Newsweek magazine for its academic rigor, placing at number 426 on a list of the nation’s top 1500 schools. This ranking is in part due to the school offering the International Baccalaureate diploma program, which is recognized internationally. Students can earn college credit and students earning the full diploma can practically name the college of their choice, in the United States or abroad.

The island’s private schools include religious and secular institutions. The Hilton Head Christian Academy and the St. Francis Catholic School are available to parents preferring a religious education for their children. Other options for a more secular education include the Hilton Head Heritage Academy and the Hilton Head Preparatory School. Any parent moving to the area may contact Ken Oliver to find out the latest information about the island’s public and private school offerings.

The Power to Change the World

When I was a young physical therapist just getting into the arena of human suffering I worked at a very old inner city school for disabled children. The school had originally been built for kids with TB and polio and was called an “open air” school. It was designed so that its large windows were aligned in such a way as to bring in fantastic ventilation. This was a treatment and prevention approach back then.

In the beginning I believed I could “fix” the problems set before me. And I made so many mistakes you could fill a bucket with them. Gratefully I had a supervisor who was kind and funny and she taught me without me even knowing it.

But as time went on I realized I could have very little impact on these kids. Most of their deformities and weaknesses and neurological problems were of long standing and the changes I was going to be able to make were going to be small. In addition, I was learning what horrendous conditions these kids lived in because of their poverty, and I had no solution for these devastating problems. These children were not only dealing with a disability they were also literally starving (some only ate at school, with no food at home for weekends or evenings), without everyday conveniences like running water and electricity. I felt overwhelmed and depressed. What could I do? What difference would any of my work make?

Then one day I was walking down the hall when I saw this very small boy trying to get a drink of water. He was about two inches too short to reach it. He had a crutch in one hand and a brace on his leg and his clothes were dirty, the cuff on his sleeve torn and raveled. He was a perfect, modern day Tiny Tim.

I lifted him up to the water fountain. He seemed to drink forever. When I put him down he turned and gave me a big hug and a big smile. Then, in a surprising burst of speed, he turned and ran-almost a skipping motion as he threw his braced leg in front of him–down the hall to go back to his recess in the gym.

That moment, that hug, that smile changed my life. I finally realized what it was all about. It wasn’t about changing the world or rescuing kids from their challenges. It was about right now, right here. How can I help right now, right here.

In our lives we only have the present. We only have this moment. The secret, I learned, is to make it the best moment that we can. And that is truly how we save the world, with this moment, which then feeds into the next moment and so on. Like dominoes in a line one affects the next until there is a cascade of effort, a cascade of change. The beauty of it is that this power to change the world, one moment at a time, is available to all of us. We all have the power to change the world.