This I Believe

Deborah - Smallwood, New York
Entered on December 12, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: change

So often I hear “You can’t change the world.” I have stubbornly refused to believe that this is true, even at the risk of ridicule and disdain. I think each person alive can have an affect on the world. This I believe.

For the past ten years I have worked in the education field. During this time period I have heard this negative mantra fall from tired lips countless times. I have heard it from custodians straight through to principals; from the highly educated to those who have little formalized education. I often wonder if they even internalize what they are saying, or is it merely just some lazy words that those who speak them utter to appear to have an opinion.

I believe that many people have become jaded to how much of an impression that our interactions have on others. When I began thinking about how a sentence or a gesture can make a difference I remember a conversation I had with a student, Keenan that changed my life. I was talking about going back to college and he said to me, “Balls to the wall, Miss Fasce’.” That sentence prompted me to fill out an application and get moving on my dream that very day. I have been in college full time for two years now and I am almost finished. When I feel like quitting school or anything else, I think of those very same words. This simple, if not questionable statement, changed my life on so many levels. I have been a source of inspiration to at least two other adults and I am proud to recall this scenario with anyone I think needs a little shove to get started on bettering themselves.

I believe that positive interactions such as this have happened to everyone at one point or another. I also believe that this can be true of negative interactions also. Everyone can remember some horrible situation that caused them to stop moving forward. I believe that we must all be responsible and sensitive towards others to prevent falling into this trap.

To tell someone that they cannot change the world is cowardly and unacceptable. I believe that people hide their insecurities and biases behind this grouping of words. I still hold on to the belief that every individual on the face of this earth has the ability to affect change. Perhaps not monumental change, maybe not even change anyone can put their finger on, but something. In the words of Tupac Shakur, rap artist, actor and poet, “I’m not saying I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.”