Making A Difference

My friend Paul Doerfler recently sent me an e-mail that contained the philosophy of Charles Schultz, creator of “Peanuts” comic strip.

Ponder the following questions:

  1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
  2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
  3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
  4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
  5. Name the last half-dozen Academy Award winners for best actor or actress.
  6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do? I’ll admit, I wasn’t able to answer any of them completely. As important as they might seem at the time, they don’t linger in the mind. They don’t make much of a difference in our lives…at least, not for long.

Schultz puts it this way: “The point is, none of us remember the head liners of yesterday. These are not second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies…awards tarnish…achievements are forgotten…accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.”

Now ponder these questions:

  1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
  2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
  3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
  4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
  5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Lots easier, right? In fact, the only difficult part for me was limiting the lists. Schultz’s lesson is this: “The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials…the most money…or the most awards. They simply are the ones who care the most.”

Paul’s e-mail got me thinking: how many lists am I on? Am I someone who would spring to mind when someone is pondering these questions?

Do I care enough?

Am I making a difference…a real difference…in the lives of others?


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