|Danny's been teaching English at EC for 10 years.|
The world is 4.5 billion years old. That’s quite old.Let me put it this way… if you started counting at a rate of one number per second, and never stopped, it would take you approximately one hundred and forty-six years to reach 4.5 billion. By which time, of course, the world would be an additional one hundred and forty-six years older...
You don’t stand a chance.
So let’s make the numbers a little more manageable. Imagine, if you will, that you could take those 4.5 billion years, and somehow condense them into a single year. Get it? Got it? Good. Now here’s the thing…If the world were one year old, then according to scientists and other people who are 4.5 billion times cleverer than I, the human race would have first appeared on earth on the 31st of December, at around half past eight in the evening. That’s how long we’ve been around.
Feeling small yet? What these scientists and other people haven’t quite figured out yet is where life on earth began, but most seem to agree that it started with single-celled organisms who, after a couple of billion years of just hanging around doing nothing much, suddenly got bored and started to evolve into multicellular organisms. Finding this a rather cool development, they thought to themselves ‘why stop there?’“So what do you want to try next?”“How about fish?”“What’s fish?”“No idea, but it sounds pretty groovy…”So they evolved into fish. By now, they were on a roll, so they grew legs and crawled out of the oceans and onto land. And became reptiles, and amphibians, and mammals, and… well, eventually… us. For a while, we lived during the day and slept at night. And then came the discovery of fire, and everything changed. With fire came light at night, and heat in winter. We used it to cook, and to harden stone to use as tools, and to clear forests for planting, and to burn clay for ceramics. And, I like to think, when all the lighting and heating and cooking and hardening and clearing and burning was done, we took the tiny, precious remaining flame and held it in our hearts, where it burned deep within us.And, for want of a better word, we called it passion.
That’s when the party really got going. That’s when we became. The flame was too hot. It wanted to be seen, to be heard. It needed a way out. And it found it…
We dipped fingers into colours and created art. We voiced our thoughts and created stories. We banged rocks together, and created music, and then we learned how to dance to it. We discovered that, with a little passion, we could change a world that had remained pretty much unchanged for approximately 4.6 billion years, and make it a better place. And we did.
Then we sat back and admired the view until we fell asleep. We slept for a long time, and while we happily dreamed of all the things we had done, the flame, with nothing to feed it, flickered uneasily. The colours slowly faded into ghosts, the stories became warped and twisted. We stopped dancing because there was no music playing. And then we woke up, took a look around, and shrugged indifferently. We forgot what we were capable of.
And suddenly, it’s today.
There’s an old Native American saying which says “We don’t inherit the world from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”. I have no idea what my children are going to say to me when I finally give it back to them, but I somehow doubt that ‘thank you’ will be the first words out of their mouths.
I think it’s time to change the world again.
“Yeah, it’s a nice idea. I’d love to. Really I would. But it’s impossible. How can one person change the world? It’s a bigger place. There are 6.1 billion people living on it. One person can’t make a difference…”
“How about passion?”
“No idea, but it sounds pretty groovy…”
Changing the world doesn’t have to be heroic or epic. We can change the world with a smile. We can change the world with a sentence, or even a word. We change the world simply by existing in it. All it takes is a little bit of passion. The flame is still there, burning away, and the more we feed it, the bigger it becomes.
Be passionate about everything you do. If something isn’t right, then make it good - if it’s good, then make it better. Make a change. Paint a picture, write a story, sing a song and dance to it. The flame is still there. The question is, what are you doing with it?
The world is one year old. We showed up on the 31st of December, at about half past eight in the evening, and everything changed…
Feeling big yet?
By Danny, EC Malta English School