Thursday, May 24, 2012

how can one person change the world?

My daughter asked this the other day, as we walked along the bike path, the sea murmuring at our side, low bushes thick to the east and west. A small wren darted near our feet, its tail erect and bright blue. A new housing development sat squat on the headland, looking over a dense history of waves, of spirit, of sun and moon rise, and the endless calls of birds.

Here is where deep spirit lies, the local Aboriginals say. There is an indigenous tent embassy set up by the beach, by the water. People are still listening to the living, breathing land, here and elsewhere.

"How can one person change the world?" my daughter asked. "I'm just one person. Humans have done so much damage—it makes me sad. I can't change it."

"You already are changing it," I said. Her hand lay small and soft in mine. Her feet walked in time with mine, her eyes watching everything, noticing, listening. "You are changing it by living your truth," I said. Which sounded so very ambiguous and new agey but that's how we talk. We talk like hippies in our house, and idealists and impossible adventurers.

"But," she said, "I can't make a difference. One person can't."

"One person can, and does, all the time. Their voice speaks out, then it adds to another person's voice and another person's voice, and all of a sudden…"

People start to listen. It can begin with a single voice. Think of Gandhi, and Buddha, and Jesus, and Nelson Mandela, and Rosa Parks. Think of people camped in treetops trying to save old growth rain forests. Think of a girl baking cookies to raise money for the RSPCA. Think of an Israeli man posting a message of love to Iranian people on his Facebook page, and then it spreading, Iranians posting messages in return, a great sweep of peace rising. Think of a President speaking out for marriage equality.

Think of the small acts people do every day— smiling at others, including others, listening to others, sharing with others. Think of passionate people, creative people, questioning people, people who care so much about this planet and the living things on it that they can't help but speak out. They make a difference by living their truth, by spreading compassion, by loving others. It's a beautiful, beautiful thing.

My daughter is changing the world with her small voice. She submitted her vegan essay to Youngzine, an online current affairs magazine for kids. It got accepted for publication and is on the front page of their U-Write section!

She is making a difference at the age of 9 — by raising an idea she believes in passionately, by stating her opinion, by presenting sources, opening up conversation, talking with others…by speaking her truth. 

And she is making a difference simply by inspiring me. 

I am so proud I could burst

Love and peace to you all! May all your feathers be fluffed and your tails bright blue, may the land whisper under your feet and your songs sing out over the sea.


  1. How awesome! I hope she continues to speak out and up for things she believes in. Just like her mama.

  2. Wow! How exciting!

    Also - The Boy Who Changed the World, by Andy Andrews

    (you probably are familiar, but what the heck)

    1. Thanks for the link, Deb! We checked the book out online and then watched a video of Andy giving a lecture about this. We loved it—what a beautiful message. :)

    2. u should write a book u explain really well

  3. Congratulations to your girl! How exciting to be published and read by many. Very well-written article, too. :)

  4. You have every right to be so proud, way to go!
    Just to let you know how much I appreciate finding your blog, I've awarded you the Versatile Award:)

  5. Congratulations to your daughter! That is so exciting. She is changing the world, certainly she is. I like how you "talk like hippies" in your house. We do too! Sometimes it sounds goofy, but it's how I feel :)

  6. What a beautiful message to share with your children! It's so true and so important to share.

  7. I'm so proud of her too! Her beautiful writing (wonder where she gets that from??), her lovely thoughts and bright soul. Makes me happy kids like that are in the world :-)

  8. Thank you, thank you, for all your kind words! They ARE so kind, and I am so grateful.

  9. This is such a beautiful post, Helena, and I completely agree with your message!! Congratulations to your daughter :)

  10. A note to Helena's Daughter: A nice, intellegent, well written article! I also loved that it got the kids talking, and even though they didn't all agree with you, you got them thinking and talking!

    I think in this society to even have one thought that you want to help heal the world, or stop cruelty to animals is an amazing, beautiful thought. And like Helena said just that thought, and that heartfelt wish does make a difference.


  11. LOVE LOVE LOVE this Helena. I so totally agree with your response to your girl. In this internet world we live in it is even more possible for one person to change the world. You can get your message out there. I just love this...

    Off to read your girls post. HOW EXCITING for her and you!

    PS. We love hippies around here. ;)


I love hearing from you! Thank you for your heartfelt, thoughtful responses—they lift me, and give me light.