When I saw the cartoon where Peppermint Patty was wondering what teachers make and Charley Brown said “A difference Peppermint Patty, they make a difference!” I not only smiled with enjoyment but was reminded about the call we all have to make a difference in our own lives.
Teachers do make a difference. I remember every teacher I ever had in my school days. Nearly all of them made a difference, some more than others of course. My High School History teacher, Mr. Bob Mullis, made a huge difference when he inspired me to reach new heights with my love of history. He helped me move from being someone who liked history and had a gift for it to someone who loved history and excelled in it. My High School Guidance Counselor (boy, did I ever need one of those), Mrs. Emma Everson, made the largest difference of all when she guided me and helped me develop into a fine debater in High School and acquire and expand my speaking and research skills. She became a great friend. Later in life she would be the only person who wasn’t shocked when I went into the ministry as she said “you have the perfect combination of being empathetic and helping without becoming overwhelming or smothering others.” I think of my Junior High School teacher who gently chided me when I wouldn’t do a paper on three possible careers for myself. I only wanted to pursue one…being a lawyer … so why would I waste time with other career possibilities just to meet the assignment. I still remember her saying “your love of poetry and speaking and your writing skills might suggest other possibilities; open up your mind”. Yes, I can think of all the ways teachers made a difference in my life and in the lives of my children and grandchildren too.
We don’t have to be teachers to make a difference. We can all make a difference in the lives of others. Ministers make a difference, at least I hope we do. Bus drivers can make a difference too; Ralph Hockman made a difference in my life. Military men and women can make a difference; just look at the difference Hal Rummel made in my life. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, it matters who you are and how you use your skills and most of all your personality and gifts to make positive contributions to the lives of others.
Now that I think about it, that’s why I always loved it when the little boys who used to live next door to us in Aspen Hill used to come over, knock on the door ask Mary if “Mr. Chance could come out and play”. I made a difference to them, not as a minister but as a friend and neighbor.
How do you make a difference? How do you share your gifts and your personality to be present and to be positive in the lives of others. I’ll bet you do make a difference. I’ll bet the difference you make is more than you realize. How much do you make? I’ll bet you make a big difference. If it isn’t true then I’ll challenge you to dig deeper, to realize the opportunities and then to go about them…go ahead; make a difference.