By Joseph J. Mazzella
In his many books and lectures, the great educator Leo Buscaglia showed us time and again how the love of just one person can change a life and change the world. I remember especially his story about the noted psychologist, Dr. Skeels.
In the early 20th Century, orphaned children were often warehoused in badly understaffed institutions where they received little if any attention or love. At one time, Dr. Skeels took 12 of these orphaned children and let them be cared for, a few hours each day, by mentally retarted adolescent girls at a nearby institution. He also studied 12 other children who were left in the orphanage all day long. He followed these children until adulthood and the results he found were shocking. Of the 12 children left all day in the orphanage, without love and attention, all were either dead, in institutions for the mentally retarded or in institutions for the mentally ill. Of the 12 children cared for and loved by the mentally retarded teenage girls, all were self-supporting, most had graduated high school, and all were happily married. The only difference in the lives of these children had been the love of one person.
God loves us all so much and His greatest wish is for us to love each other as well. Let us never forget then just how vital our love can be to another. Patrick McCauley wrote, “Some of us will reach millions, most of us will reach a few, and some will reach only one person. However, given the infinite significance of each person, there is no difference in the end.”
Give your love, your kindness, and your heart to others today. You never know whom you might touch, whom you might help, and whose life you may save. As Thomas Merton said: “How can anyone tell how much he owes to the goodness of those who love him?” You may be just one person and you may touch just one person, but that alone can change the world.