I’ve wondered, “What can one person do to change a troubled world?”

I found a few ideas from Brad Aronson in his book, HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Act at a Time. Brad describes the small acts that helped him and his wife, Mia when she faced a two-year treatment for leukemia. That story alone will inspire you with ideas of how small acts can have a powerful impact.

Brad describes his life of giving in small ways and shares examples of ordinary people doing ordinary things that make an extraordinary difference. I learned that even when we think our small gesture touches just one life, a ripple effect we never see stretches further than we imagine.

The book will uplift you and give you hope that we haven’t abandoned humankind-ness. Here are a few thoughts from Brad to ponder today and always.

In describing the people whose stories he shares:
“The heroes in HumanKind don’t command an army of helpers or have an abundance of free time. They’re everyday people who focus on what they can do to make a difference.”

How much is enough to make a difference?
“If we do what we can, that will be enough. No expression of love is wasted, and even the smallest gestures tend to go much further than we think they will.”

Just start by saying yes.
“Saying yes to others can make all the difference…And when we say yes to ourselves, we can give ourselves permission to open doors that others can follow us through.”

Be the One Who Makes a Difference

1. Give gifts through your local community including hospitals and shelters.

2. Donate money to national, international, or local organizations. Even small amounts can add up.

3. Donate to specific individuals, families, or classrooms. Brad describes the number and variety of small contributions from friends and neighbors that supported his family. 

4. Bone Marrow, Blood, and Organ Donors. A simple step available is to register to donate blood or organs. Adding yourself to the worldwide bone marrow registry only requires a simple cheek swab. 

5. Write letters to support and encourage hospitalized children, those in foster care, newly diagnosed cancer patients, veterans, or troops on the front lines.

6. One-time coaching or mentoring opportunities can make a difference. You never know how that one encounter can change a life.

7. Long-term coaching and mentoring can provide extended support. Many schools and non-profit organizations need volunteers to build long-term relationships.

8. Help people celebrate milestones, birthdays for hospitalized children, ending cancer treatments, coming home after an extended hospital stay, and care packages for college students without family.

And finally, “There’s no lack of opportunity for any of us to do good in the world.” 

Brad maintains a current list of organizations and ideas for you to be that one person who makes a difference.

Inspiration worth sharing . . .

  1. Brad Aronson’s HumanKind-ness reminded me of why kindness is a lifestyle.
  2. Children’s books can teach adults as well as young minds. Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller will give you more kind ideas, or you can watch and listen to the book here.
  3. Enjoy this Spotify playlist with songs to inspire your kindness. One of my favorites is Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” and you don’t want to miss this four-year-old singing with her dad.

Inspiring words . . .

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
Jane Goodall

And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.

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Photo: One Sea Gull © Kathryn LeRoy