“Look for Battles Big Enough to Matter but …


at the same time, small enough to win some realistic victories.”

That’s a quote from the latest Jonathan Kozol book that I am reading, Fire in the Ashes.

Kozol was offering advice to a young woman who had overcome significant obstacles and was on her way to graduating college with a degree in social work. She had grown up as a minority in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the U.S., and was upset about the lack of access to quality education that children in such situations had to deal with.

Kozol noted that listening to the indignation in this young woman’s voice reminded him of other students he had known, black and Latino students mostly, but some conscientious young white people too, who became so wrathful or seemed to be so overwhelmed by the sheer dimensions of the problems they perceived that they tended to give up on many good and useful things they could have done right here and now within the social system as it stands.

The quote resonated with me, and got me thinking.

I’ve sometimes felt that some problems, such as world hunger, homelessness, or gun control are so big that there’s not much I could do as an individual to combat such problems.

But when you start looking more closely, there are likely many small victories you can achieve with respect to any problem.

It reminds me a little of one of my favorite bumper stickers,

“Think Globally, but Act Locally.”

Perhaps that can be rewritten to,

“Think Big, but Act Small.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.