Change for a Dollar

Every once in a while, something just appears out of nowhere and strikes the perfect chord in your life.

Yesterday, a friend of mine sent me a link to a short YouTube film, Change for a Dollar. Here’s the video. Please, take the time to watch this.

For me and for a lot of us, December is filled with spending money on things for others. We try so hard to make a wonderful holiday for those we care about.

The thing is, after all of the money is spent and the gifts are opened, the things you’ll remember will be the little things that have almost nothing to do with the gifts.

When I think back to every one of my favorite memories of my life, none of them have anything to do with gifts. They have to do with little things.

I remember the last Christmas I spent with my great grandmother. She was still living independently, but she wasn’t doing so well, so we brought her a whole bunch of easy-to-prepare foods and cooked a meal for her.

I remember sitting around a table a few days after Christmas playing Risk with my dad and some of his friends, the first time I played an “adult” game with the adults.

I remember when my father was unemployed during the winter when I was about six. My mother found a $20 bill in a parking lot at a grocery store, mostly buried in the snow.

The little things matter. They matter more than the big gifts or anything else.

Spend this season – and perhaps 2012 as well – making the little things right. It might alter the big things more than you think.

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  1. Gina says:

    Wow, this movie was amazing. Thank you for sharing. I came home from work tonight after a busy and stressful day, sat down at my computer and watched this movie. Thank you for reminding me how fortunate I am -

  2. Johanna says:

    The video is clever, I’ll give it that. And I know it’s supposed to be a fictional story. But it bothers me a little bit how it minimizes the real problems that people face. Most unemployed people need more than for someone to notice a Help Wanted sign for them. And the teenage runaway might have been running away from (and now going home to) an abusive family.

    I’m glad that the lessons Trent draws from this don’t actually involve giving 20 cents to a total stranger and imagining that you’ve transformed their life for the better. But the examples he does give – putting time, attention, and love into the relationships you’re already a part of – those to me *are* big things. If it’s something that really matters, isn’t that by definition a big thing, not a little thing?

  3. AnnJo says:

    Johanna, sometimes one person being helped is just one person being helped. It doesn’t have to solve all problems globally to be viewed without cynicism and disdain.

    Most unemployed people today need a better economy, but any one unemployed person just needs a job.

    There are those who dream that we could provide some grandiose systemic solution if only we could do away with some group or other (Republicans, the bourgoisie, those of a despised race or religion) that stands in the way of whatever they see as the obvious solution. Meanwhile, one unemployed person getting a job seems trivial in that context, but it matters to the person who gets it.

  4. Johanna says:

    The point, you have missed it. But that’s ok – I’m used to that from you by now.

  5. I have to say my main response to this video, if we lived in tv land… which we don’t. It is nearly impossible to know what we need in five minutes to help another human being. And I rarely believe it is possible to change another human beings life with one small thing except by pure chance. We can try all our lives to help others and really do little more than help them feel a tiny bit better for a few seconds. The futility of a life’s goal.

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