Though an optimistic sort, I’m appropriately wary of anyone who claims that “One Simple Step!” can create any sort of meaningful, lasting change.
Despite the insistence of the rudely targeted sidebar ads on my Facebook page, losing belly fat doesn’t work that way.
Making $10,000 a month working from home doesn’t work that way.
Juggling rubber balls doesn’t work that way.
So when a friend sent me a book whose premise is that a moment (not even a more respectable hour, just a moment) could change the entire trajectory of a child’s life, I was cautious. The fact that the author was Compassion International’s President Emeritus, Wess Stafford, made me curious enough to crack the cover. That guy’s got the chops.
In his book Just a Minute, Stafford shares story after story in which a single encounter changed the course of a child’s life. A sponsor’s letter convinces a girl living in poverty in Manila that her life matters. A compliment at just the right moment buoys and blesses a child’s spirit. A well-timed smile and wave comforts a grieving family.
As I lapped up story after story I was reminded that this is exactly what I believe.
Specifically, I believe in the power of a single face to change everything.
What Makes the Difference?
In her work among adults who’d endured abuse or neglect as children, German psychologist Alice Miller noticed that those who experienced mistreatment as children would most often grow up to repeat the pattern of violence that they experienced. Even when these people “knew better,” their early experiences were so deeply formative that they naturally repeated the nasty cycle they’d endured.1