If You’ve Ever Wondered How Can You Make a Difference?
The Nicholas Winton Story
An attitude adjustment
Joanne and I are fairly upbeat but like most people we have our ups and downs, especially after a long Edmonton winter. Every now and then something comes along that reminds us how lucky we are and how each of us can and do make a difference in people’s lives.
Sometimes this is in the form of a e-mail or note from someone who has read our blog, taken a course or met us at a university mentoring session. They let us know how some small little things have touched them or helped them in their career or life.
A hidden gem
Sometimes we stumble on a reminder. As movie fans we scour Netflix for films that are 4 star or better and found a gem – Nicky’s Children. This moving documentary really brought home how little and big things we do for others can make an unbelievable difference to people’s lives and the planet.
Skiing or volunteering?
It tells the inspiring story of Nicholas Winton, a 29-year-old London stockbroker who instead of going on his ski vacation, journeys to Prague and volunteers to help refugees fleeing Hitler’s annexation of Czechoslovakia.
Save the Children?
That chance trip starts him on a single-minded journey to try to do something that people told him was impossible. He focuses on attempting to get Jewish children out of the hands of the Nazis and appeals to various countries to allow him to do so. Only Sweden and England open their doors, as long as Nicky can find guarantors and foster families to take care of each and every one of the children.
Continues on with his life
When war is finally declared he has been able to save the lives of more than 600 children. After this good deed, he joins the RAF, fights in the war and then continues on with his life – never telling anyone about his good deed.
They had no idea
Until shortly before this film was made, the children, now adults with families, children and grandchildren of their own (more than 6000), had no idea who he was or what he had done for them.
“Save one life, save the world.”
His wife, finding a box containing the children’s photos, his notes and files, brings the story to the attention of the BBC and Nicholas Winton receives a suprise tearful reunion with some of his “children” and a knighthood. But the story of this good deed doesn’t end there.
The legacy continues
Among those saved are the British film director, Karel Reisz (The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Isadora, and Sweet Dreams) and Canadian journalist and news correspondent for CBC, Joe Schlesinger. Many of those he saved have paid it forward and made a difference in the world. (Watch the short interview and story with now 104 year old Nicky Winton above)
The ripples of a good deed don’t stop there
His story has inspired young people around the world to take up his example and volunteer to do big and small things to make a difference.
You never know
Watch this film. You’ll cry, you’ll be inspired, and you’ll never forget that one person can make a difference. As we often say in our seminars, the little kindnesses that we do ripple out in all directions. Let us know what you think and share your experiences. (see the Nicky’s Children trailer above and more remarkable clips of this amazing pay-it-forward story)
Posted by Terry Pithers – Canadian soft skills trainer and believer in the power of kindness
Here’s an uplifting update to this story:
105th birthday party for man who saved 669 children from the Nazis – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/20/nicholas-winton-birthday-man-saved-children-nazis
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