One Person Can’t Change the World — Because People Always Join and Help
Have you ever noticed how Buffy always has to skip classes to chase down vampires? Or how Peter Parker sometimes misses the coolest photo opportunities because he’s off fighting Green Goblin? If comics teach us any lesson, it’s this: When you’re busy being a superhero, it’s hard to get ahead.
Today I got to experience this phenomenon first hand. For the first time, I was forced to choose between my superheroic duty and my responsibilities at work.
So far, I’ve done a good job scheduling my volunteer projects around my shifts at work. While my boss has noticed bags under my eyes and occasionally commented on how tired I look, it has not significantly impacted my ability to do my job. This morning, I got to experience having to choose between the day job and the superhero gig. It began with a conversation with WRAL’s Bill Leslie, a local news anchor who does a most excellent job supporting local causes and do-gooders.
Would I like to be featured on his segment, “Good Things“? Of course, I would. Actually, it’s been one of my dreams. Dreams come true when you’re a superhero.
And would I like it to be Wednesday, when I just happen to be at Note in the Pocket, a budding organization that could truly benefit from some media recognition? That’s absolutely ideal. In fact, I called Dallas immediately. I was thrilled to be able to bring such strong support to their cause. As inspiring as the group is and how quickly they’ve grown, I’m still being asked by every other non-profit leader, “Ohhh, what’s Note in the Pocket?” This non-profit is sprouting quickly and has an expressed need for volunteers. A little media coverage could go a long, long way. If my Superhero for a Month project could accomplish that for them, that’s worth way more than my one pair of arms could do. I don’t have super speed. But if ten volunteers showed up each day, I wouldn’t need super speed.
Unfortunately, the interview needed to be slightly earlier than I usually arrive to start my volunteer shift, and it was going to cut into my duties at La Petite. Specifically, I wouldn’t be able to drive my school-age class to school. With very little notice, I timidly approached my Director to ask if somehow she could let me out early and if somebody else could drive the bus for me this morning.
I knew she’d realize it was for an important cause, but it was also very sudden. Of course, my Director and co-workers have been supportive–some of them even read my blog!–and she worked it out for me. I felt bad for having my superhero stuff effect my job, but if comic books are any indication, I knew it was bound to happen eventually.
Which brings me to my next point: Everyone says, “One person can make a difference.” And you can. You absolutely can. But I guarantee you, you won’t make that impact all by yourself. You’ll have supporters. You’ll make connections. Your boyfriend will bring home pizza for you so you can relax a bit. Your boss will let you out of work early. Bill Leslie will come do more for your cause in one day than you could have done in a month. Other superheroes will rise up beside you. The world is changed by the impact of thousands of hands working, each doing their own job as best as they can.
One person can’t change the world — not because one person simply isn’t strong enough to do it alone, no. The truth is far more beautiful: Kindness is inherently shared. One person can’t change the world because kindness and social action are viral; when a person steps up to make a difference, people notice and naturally join in. When you create change, you create ripples. You will never act alone, not for long.
That’s the best part about saving the world. Sometimes you may feel alone, but you’re not alone. The more you fight for the right causes, the more you’ll meet other amazing people doing the same thing.
The more you sit on your couch eating potato chips, the more you’ll meet some trolls on the internet. Which do you want?
In the end, Mr. Bill Leslie thanked me for sharing my story with him. No. Thank you, Bill, for sharing my story and the story of Note in the Pocket–and the stories of dozens of other kind-hearted superheroes making our city a better place every day. You’re sharing the stories of hope that inspire more people to rise up and keep making a difference. Not all heroes wear costumes. Every time I go out and volunteer, I meet a few more heroes. Really, we superheroes are everywhere. Even in the mirror.
On a more vain note, check out my new costume and some nifty pictures of me pretending to be Spider-Man. I’ve changed up my look a bit. This costume shows more of the blue, so I don’t look so shadowy. Plus it made Captain Hoodie’s jaw drop so–bonus!