11.01.2010

the one factor


A boy was walking on a beach and tossing starfish that had been stranded on the beach back into the ocean. An old man asked him what he was doing. "I'm saving the starfish," he answered. "Son," said the old man, "Look! There are thousands of starfish! Do you think you can really make a difference for all of those?" The boy quietly picked up another starfish and tossed it into the water. He looked at the man. "It mattered to that one."

*~*~*~*

Currently, I'm reading a book called "The One Factor." The thesis, or purpose of this book is to demonstrate the fact that one person, one moment, one one idea can make a huge impact. And even if its impact isn't huge, it can help one person. It can matter to that one.

Ever feel like there's a problem so big that your efforts won't make a difference? We're seeing a lot of that this week during the election. Many people decide not to vote because their one vote "won't change the result." And it's true. On it's own, one vote probably won't. But how many people decided that their "one vote" didn't matter? Maybe if more people realized the power they have as one person, their "one vote" wouldn't be alone.

Another huge problem, the one that has opened my eyes to this whole idea, is the problem of the foster care system. There are thousands of children in America's often dysfunctional foster care system. When we hear that number, we are, as Dave Sauder (author of The One Factor) said, "paralyzed before we take a step." We assume that as one person we can't possibly have an impact big enough to merit the effort. We assume that a small impact isn't worth the trouble.

But why?

At the top of this post is a picture of a girl named Skyler. She is ten years old. She loves music and enjoys riding horses. She has beautiful eyes and a serenely delicate smile. Right now she is available for adoption. She needs a family, someone to take her and love her as their own daughter, to show her deep love that she has never known. She needs good friends and faithful mentors. She is one person, and so are you.

We are only one person. There are thousands of children in foster care. But each of those children are also only one person. They each have a face, a story, a need. Whether or not you can help all of them is not the problem. This is the issue: will you help one of them?

Sure, there were starfish lying stranded on the beach for miles. But does that mean the boy shouldn't have helped the few he could? Sure, there are thousands of people casting their votes, but does that means we should make our voice heard? Sure, the number of needy children is overwhelming, but does that mean that we won't make the effort to change one life?


No one makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he knows he cannot do everything. ~Edmund Burke


More about the Heart Gallery at: www.oregonheartgallery.org

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