Reaction to Nicholas Kristof: One Person Can Make a Difference

The Nicholas Kristof Lecture was an intriguing, engaging and interesting talk.  Kristof engrossed the audience with interesting facts and motivating techniques that one can take to make a difference.

One thing in particular that really stood out to me was when he shared a Hawaiian proverb about a boy helping starfish.

He stated how a boy was walking along a beach throwing starfish back into the water because they washed up on shore.

An old man approached the boy and asked, “Son, what are you doing?”

The boy responded, “All of these starfish washed up on shore, so I am throwing them back into the ocean to save them”.

“Yes, but there are so many of them,” the old man retorted, “You can’t possibly make a difference.”

The boy, throwing another into the ocean replied, “sure made a difference to that one.”

This story really made an impression on me for many reasons. It proves that making a difference can come in small dosages. Maybe not on the community as a whole, but to each starfish, that boy throwing them back into the ocean made a world of a difference.

Another reason this story had an impact on me was because it demonstrates how a small amount of kindness truly goes a long way. One just has to have the incentive and motivation to give back.

Kristof stated that it is merely impossible to help every single person. In order to make a difference, we must “chip” away at the problem.  And that is exactly what he is doing.  Not only does he travel to these impoverished countries, helping people while he is there, but he also preaches, spreads, and writes about the conditions and problems that occur.

Everything that Kristof said was truly inspiring to hear. It made me think about my life and the things that I have. He stated that we won a “life lottery” with all of the aspects that make up our lives, and it is our choice what we choose to do with this great fortune.

I’ve always wanted to help impoverished people in other countries and hearing about the horrible things that happen breaks my heart.  But, as Kristof said, nobody really knows what it feels like when you actually see a building burning and children dying, or a prostitute being sold to a brothel and being helpless.

I agreed with mostly everything he spoke about at the lecture.  I utterly agree that we must all work together to chip away at world problems.  One person cannot have the goal of changing everything oneself; rather giving everything they have to one aspect and work to change that.  I believe that making a difference can come in all different forms.

Overall, Nicholas Kristof’s lecture inspired me to get involved and to help unfortunate people as much as I can.  It made me more anxious to go to South Africa and give back to their community.


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