You never know in what form an agent of change will appear. Often, we associate change with monetary actions because of their tangible, immediate impact. More often than not, change results from some seemingly intangible act whose effect may not be seen for years — or maybe never — by the person who was the agent responsible for the change.
I can speak from experience.
Being just an average student in high school, I struggled in college for the first year and a half. Not because I wasn’t trying; it was just an experience that my small-town background hadn’t prepared me for. I wondered if I could make it, what the future might be.
During the last semester of my second year, I was in a class that was renowned for its strict instructor. (This seemed the most unlikely situation that would change the direction of my college career and, subsequently, the path of my life.)
I had taken the first exam for the class and was not expecting the results to be much better than what I received in other classes. With much anxiety, I awaited the instructor to hand me my exam and, when he did, there it was — the two words that changed my college career and subsequently the path of my life — “good job.” Those two words made all the difference in the world to me. They helped me believe I could do it, and that there was someone who cared.
I have been fortunate enough to visit some of my sponsored youth in the Philippines. During each visit, I spend time talking with them about my experiences and about believing in what they can do and what they can accomplish. My words are often repeated back to me in their letters and on my return visits. It reminds me that words matter. Never doubt their impact. They inspire — providing belief, encouragement and hope to youth for a different life.
Each of us as sponsors — and as members of Team CI — has the power to become an agent of change. Each of us has a role, contributing a part to the whole. We are giving sponsored youth a chance at changing their lives, their families and those around them — a reflection of the CI logo.
Never doubt that the seed you are planting is bearing fruit. It will show itself in many different ways. And maybe you will be fortunate enough to share in it. Sometimes, it takes only a couple of words to make a change that lasts a lifetime.
To all who are engaged in this most empowering of endeavors, good job!
Chris Kent is a longtime Children International world-changer who sponsors 20 kids.