When Small Is Big

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There seems to be a lot of bad news lately, and it is easy to feel helpless as a kid.  After all, what can a 13-year-old do about global warming, Ebola and ISIS? But recently, I had an experience that reminded me that even something small can make a big difference.

For my school community service project, I volunteered at an organization that helps disabled kids play soccer.  On the first day, my buddy was a young boy named Ben.  His mom introduced herself to me and started talking about Ben. She wanted me to know that he couldn’t kick very well, so I might need to just roll him the ball.

The first time I kicked the ball past Ben, it was evident we would have to resort to the “rolling” strategy. I sat down, and Ben followed suit. I rolled the ball to him, it hit his leg, and he ignored it.  I took the ball back and did the same thing.  Ben continued to ignore me.  This went on for about an hour, and I was getting frustrated, counting down the minutes until I could go home.  For a second I even thought about pulling out my phone and surfing Instagram, but I knew that would be the wrong thing to do.

And then, all of a sudden, Ben lifted up his little hand, hit the ball, and it rolled back to me.  There I sat, amazed.

Ben and I continued to roll the ball until it was time for him to go, and then his mom came up to me and asked how it went.  I showed her:  I rolled the ball to Ben, and he returned it.


Ben’s mom looked shocked.  I asked her if everything was okay, and she replied, “Okay? Everything is great!  We have been rolling the ball to him his whole life, and he has never rolled it back.”

As they left, I was touched.  I never thought I could have such a big effect on a child just by rolling a ball back and forth with him.  I watched Ben and his mother walk to their car, and Ben turned around and whispered, “Bye-bye, Scott.”

I can’t do much about what’s wrong in the world, but that day I felt like I did make a difference.

With a Perspective, I’m Scott Pyle.

Scott Pyle is an eighth grader at Kent Middle School in Kentfield