Small Change and Small Changes

small changeWhen I was teaching high school in London in the 1990s, I worked with a man named Kevin, who was the technician for the woodwork and metalwork shops. Kevin had a funny little habit; after morning break and lunch break, he would go and walk around the school yard and pick up the coins that the students had dropped. Most days he would come back with a small handful of 1p and 2p pieces, sometimes with a couple of larger denominations thrown in.

The coins went into a jar in his cupboard, and at the end of the school year he would count them up and donate the money to a charity that he supported, I don’t recall which one it was. Every year it was a decent-sized donation; at least once during the time I worked there it topped £50. Kevin’s theory was that if the students couldn’t be bothered picking up the money that they had dropped, he would pick it up himself and give it to people who would care about it, who needed it.

Many years later, I read a couple of books by motivational speaker Larry Winget. He is very big on personal responsibility, as evidenced by his book titles (Shut Up, Stop Whining and Get a Life and You’re Broke Because You Want to be are but two of them). In at least one of his books he advises his readers to pick up any small change that they see lying in the street, for two reasons: First, it’s a small symbolic reminder about letting financial and other abundance into your life and secondly because small things accumulate over time. Kevin understood that second point when he was walking the school yard back in London.

Just like small change accumulates, so too do small changes. Sometimes making a life change seems like a huge deal, but try taking one little step in that direction, then another and another and, sooner or later, we get there.

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