Can One Person Make a Difference?


I believe so.

Often times we think we can not possibly make a difference. Our personal problems and the world’s problems are too big, too complicated for anyone to make a difference we think. It is easy to become disillusioned; disheartened; do nothing.

Sometimes I think we make things or think things are more complicated than they really are  or have to be. Sometimes I think we think only of the big picture, and not enough of the little bits and pieces it take to make the big picture in the first place.

It is not just famous people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates that change the world. I posit it is you and me and everyone else in the world that changes the world.

What if making a difference was as easy as just smiling at a stranger in the street? Or maybe a word of encouragement to a friend or neighbor who is down or going through a troubled time. Or simply a hug Or just listening.  What would happen if each person so treated then passed your good dead on to someone else?

It is kind of like the starfish story. I am sure you have heard or read it. Many say the author is unknown. Untrue. The author is naturalist and writer Loren Eiseley, and the original story was titled, The Star Thrower.

There are many versions of the story, most much shorter than the original. But the idea is always the same – making a difference.

The Star Fish

While walking along a beach early one morning, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.

He came closer and called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

The old man smiled, and said, “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”

The young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw back into the water, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, “Made a difference to that one.”

Making a Difference

That is our challenge each and every day; making a difference in someone’s life. It doesn’t have to be anything big or spectacular. A caring smile, a squeeze of a hand,  doing a small favor.

There is something very special in each and every one of us. We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference if we choose to use it.

Over the eons men and women have always wanted to achieve immortality. To that end they have waged wars, conquered nations, built empires, constructed mansions, written great books, composed heavenly music, made great fortunes. These people may be famous. Their names may be etched forever in the history books. But many of them have not really achieved immortality.

I believe the way to achieve immortality is to make a difference with the little things we do for others each and every day. For when we make such a difference, when we touch another’s heart and soul we leave a part of ourselves in that person. And that person in turn carries a piece of us to every person they touch; and so on and so on over the years.

That is making a lasting difference. That is achieving immortality.

So pass it on. Throw that little starfish in the water.



Featured Recipe    Open Face Tuna Melt Sandwich

Today’s recipe is just a new and different way to serve a tuna fish salad sandwich. You can make open face sandwiches on just a regular slice of bread. Or, you can mix it up a little bit. Have some fun. Do something different. Try making an open-faced sandwich with a loaf of bread instead. Just cut a loaf of bread in half length wise, spread it with some tuna salad, add some cheese and heat  it till the cheese melts.

To make a filling meal serve with a salad and or a bowl of soup.

You can also cut the bread into small strips and make appetizers for a party or family get together.

This is what you will need for 3 sandwiches

2- 4.5 ounce cans solid tuna fish

2 tablespoons diced green onions (1 should do it.)

2 tablespoons diced celery (1 large stalk.)

1 tablespoon pickle relish

¼ to ½ cup mayonnaise

1 loaf Italian bread or a French baguette

3 tablespoons  shredded cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons shredded Swiss cheese*

2-3 green onions sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

NOTES: I could find no shredded Swiss cheese so I purchased a block of cheese and shredded it myself.

Use any kind of cheese you like.

Here is what you do:

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Drain the fish and place in a bowl.

Wash the green onions and celery. Cut off the roots on the onion and an inch or two of the top of the green part. Then dice one of them and toss in the bowl with the tuna fish.

To dice a green onion just slice it in half length wise, then slice as you would a whole green onion.

Slice the remaining green onions and set aside in a dish.

Dice the celery and toss into the bowl with the tuna and the green onions. How To Dice Celery

Add the pickle relish and the mayonnaise to taste. If using salt and or pepper add it now too.

Gently mix the tuna mixture well with a spatula.

Since I had to buy a block of Swiss cheese I had to shred it too.

Now slice the bread first in half cross wise.

NOTE: If you are feeding young children or small eaters cut the bread into fourths instead of in half.

Then cut in half length wise. Then top each piece of bread with some of the tuna fish mixture.

NOTE: You will have one-fourth piece of bread left for anothe use. Or, you can use less tuna mixture on each piece of bread than I do and make 4 sandwiches instead.

Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of each kind of cheese on each sandwich.

Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet……..

….. and then in the oven for 12-15 minutes. The last 3 minutes or so turn the oven to broil to brown the edges a bit; or place in a toaster oven those last few minutes.

Top the finished sandwiches with a few of the reserved green onion slices.

Raise your hand if you thought I had forgotten those little suckers. Oh ye of little faith!!

Bon appétit!!!


2- 4.5 ounce cans solid tuna fish      $3.12

2 tablespoons diced green onions     $0.07

2 tablespoons diced celery               $0.11

1 tablespoon pickle relish                 $0.05

¼ cup mayonnaise                          $0.40

1 loaf Italian bread                          $1.99

3 tbspns cheddar cheese                 $0.41

3 tbspn Swiss cheese                      $0.41

2-3 green onions sliced                   $0.21

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $6.77

Cost per sandwich = $2.25

Quotes of the Day

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring: all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

Anne Frank

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

Dr. Seuss


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7 comments to Can One Person Make a Difference?

  • Beautiful story and it’s so true. We don’t realize what an impact we have on people and if we did we’d walk around with smiles all the time. A little bit of kindness costs nothing.

    I often eat a topless sandwich but rarely think of adding cheese and melting it. I made tuna salad yesterday and I’m going down right now and have lunch. (yes I know it’s 2:33 in the afternoon but I just realized it’s not noon any more)

    • Roberta

      I think we should all smile more. Just because.

      I don’t pay attention to clocks or time very much for food. I eat when I am hungry. Fortunately, I am a small eater.

  • Virginia Urbach

    Roberta, there are a few among my twitter friends that speaks to me in a way that touches my heart. You, my friend are one. Not only do you give us wonderful recipes but stories that inspires and make us smile. I’ll keep returning for the recipes you post. More importantly, I’ll keep returning for your positive outlook on everyday life.

    • Roberta

      Oh wow, Virginia. What a wonderfully fantastic compliment. Thank you very, very much. I am humbled and grateful at the same time. I am so glad we met and befriended each other on twitter. Blessings.

  • Carol Sternberg

    Lunch tomorrow! Thanks for food and life affirming thoughts. As you know Chicago is in the midst of a Teacher strike. My daughter is a teacher and I attended the March downtown today along with my three year old grandaughter. I was moved by this wonderful group of caring people. Teachers have been put down of late and it touched us to see signs along the way simply saying “Thank You”

  • My mother used to make baked tuna and cheese sandwiches. As a child I hated them, but now they are wonderful. I love your stepped up version.