Dear Reader:

When you think about it…we each have one story, one life, that is subject to change, in not only a moment’s notice, but in one second of time on earth. One is a number that signifies the opportunity of helping one other person by changing another life forever.

In an article that popped up (without a clear written source but I think it was an honorable mention paper in an essay contest in 2007/ V Poirer) when I typed in the importance of  ‘One’ …several observations were made that I think is important to share.

Here are some excerpts from this wonderful essay titled: “The Importance of One Human”

Every individual human contributes something to the world, whether great or small. If I were given the choice to either make a small difference in the world at large, or a big difference in one person’s life, I would choose the latter. I believe that it would be a greater accomplishment to make a significant change in the life of one person than to slightly improve the world. One human can change the course of the world.

…When Mary said yes to God, she altered the future for every single person that lived and would live. Even though Mary was one person, she changed the world.

As a teacher, haven’t we all hoped that somewhere along the journey of our vocation, we touched one student who went on to touch and change other lives because of one thought or incident in a classroom.

Every Christmas we see this concept played out in the classic: “It’s a Wonderful Life.” 

… “If the main character had not lived, then his brother might have died. If the brother had died, then he would not have enlisted in the military and hundreds of soldiers could have died. Because the main character made a big difference in the life of one man, the positive effect of this decision was felt by many.” 

51xh9zigel-_sx381_bo1204203200_I used to read the children Civil War classic story “Pink and Say” to my students to set the feeling tone for the terrible war we were about to study. Some of the students had heard the story in their fifth grade class and were excited about hearing the story again.

Here is a quick synopsis of it:

Two fifteen-year-old Union soldiers form a bond of friendship on the battlefield. Sheldon Curtis, a white soldier also known as Say, lies badly wounded when Pinkus, an African American soldier also known as Pink, rescues him. Pink carries Say to his home where Say is cared for by Pink’s mother, Moe Moe Bay. While Say is recovering, Pink reads aloud to him and Moe Moe Bay from the Bible. Say confesses that he can’t read, but he is proud that he once touched the hand of Abraham Lincoln.

In a very sad section of the book, marauders kill Moe Moe Bay, and Pink and Say return to their units. Shortly after, the Confederate Army captures them, and they hang Pink. Before he is hung, Pink says, “Let me touch the hand that touched Mr. Lincoln, Say, just one last time.” Touching the hand of Lincoln is symbolic for hope for a better future and a country without slavery.

“One last time”….let me touch the hand that touched Mr. Lincoln.” The power of one handshake, one friendship,  one symbol of freedom…one last time.

hqdefaultSome of you old enough, like me, might remember Three Dog Night’s popular hit “One is the Loneliest Number”…with the initial lyrics reading: “Cause one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
One is the loneliest number, whoa-oh, worse than two.”

I remember singing along with the song, quite badly but loudly, when it would come on the radio…but today I tend to disagree with the theme behind it. Yes, perhaps if we find ourselves all alone on a desert island…that song might fit…but I see “one” differently these days. All it takes is one person with one smile making a difference in another one’s life. One is pretty self-sustaining by itself and can change the world with one action.

The importance of every human to the world is just like the shoe nail-to-kingdom analogy:

For want of a nail, the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe, the horse was lost. For want of a horse, the rider was lost. For want of a rider, the battle was lost. For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail. -Benjamin Franklin*

(Source* *Alchin, L.K. “For Want of a Nail” -by Benjamin Franklin).”

il_fullxfull-1021582906_k8tgWhat started me thinking along these linear lines of the importance of one human life and the importance of each second on earth’s clock…began with my reflections on the rocky road to the National Championship that Clemson just accomplished. There were so many opportunities for the quest to go spiraling downward and crash… taking every Clemson coach, player, fan, and supporter’s dreams with it.

With North Carolina State…it was a slow motion, agonizing moment as we all watched (helplessly) as a potentially winning field goal just barely missed the ‘up-rights’ … thus saving Clemson from defeat. Then came the terrible Pitt game where we all had to watch the last second tick away losing to Pitt by one point- 43-42.

485448016234538535I remember thinking that it was all over with that loss. We had squeaked by too many times and our number had come up. But then, to my surprise and shock, other front-line contenders ended up losing too that same Saturday and Clemson managed to stay in the top four…still eligible for that coveted national title.

download-4…Then comes the National Championship game… Clemson wins it with one second left on the game clock. One second. We ended up being number one in college football after feeling the power of that number (“ONE”) both positively and negatively throughout the entire season.

So until tomorrow…. “One” second can change a game completely around or a life because one human can change the world…one person at a time.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*One second after the winning touchdown the orange and purple confetti started coming down. Tommy and Walsh said it was an unbelievable spectacle. For some of the Clemson players, who had felt the visual disappointment of the opponent’s red confetti falling around them last year, they were now elevated to a fairy tale ending…”Happily Ever After” amid a scene of confetti that appeared to swallow the whole stadium.


renfrow2*I keep looking for Clemson posters, wall hangings, shirts, etc. that say something along the line of “It Only Takes a Second to be a Champion“….to date I haven’t found anything…if anyone does…do let me know where you found it.

img_20170113_075103Update: John and Mandy had originally planned to get a head-start on the long weekend and leave last night to split the trip to Disney but the wrecks on Highway 17 closing down both lanes caused a halt to those plans. Mandy emailed early this morning and said they got off at 6:00…no traffic and smooth sailing. Jake is spry and ready to go.



About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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1 Response to ONE

  1. Jo Dufford says:

    Debbie Macomber wrote a book about choosing one word each year as her word of the year. I decided to do that for a program I had to do, and as Debbie said, “I let God lead me to my word.” Suddenly everywhere I looked there was the word, ONE, so I chose that word for the program and the month (notice I didn’t try a year.) I remember using the quote Helen Keller used so much, “I am but one, I can’t do everything, but I can do something. Because I can’t do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”(Maybe not exact, but close enough.) Obviously, your blog really inspired me today as it always does. I enjoyed every example you gave of the importance of ONE, and it also made me remember the many ways I saw that when ONE was my chosen word.


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