How to make a difference

There are those that are born to greatness, those that achieve greatness and those that have greatness thrust upon them (sic. William Shakespeare; Twelfth Night, Act II scene V)                                            

My wife recently showed me some videos on Facebook of a police officer in Arkansas, USA. These videos are not the usual FB fare of officers behaving inappropriately, they are heartfelt vignettes that show his connection with the local community. He does not have a special role focused on community engagement, but that is what he does. His posts have nearly a million followers. They show his interactions with members of the community and highlight the relationships he has built up.

Officer Tommy M Norman is someone who did not set out to achieve greatness (other than to do the job as best he could), he has had it thrust upon him. He rose to worldwide recognition with a Facebook post of him dancing with kids on the streets of Little Rock, Arkansas. He is a police officer who patrols his beat and makes connections with the local community.

He posts videos of himself with people he regularly meets and the interactions he has. He gets involved with the kids, joining in their games and activities and generally fosters a positive feeling that is reflected in the videos he posts. He treats everyone with respect and dignity, regardless of their age, race, disability or social status.  

His greatness comes from within. He did not set out to be famous or to get awards, he was just doing the job as he saw fit. It wasn’t until others highlighted what he was doing that the recognition came. In his many followers are famous sports stars and celebrities who will regularly send him gifts for the kids in his videos, such as autographed shirts and shoes.

I am sure that many have been inspired by Officer Norman to do something positive themselves (I certainly have). We can all be like Officer Norman and improve the lives of others by our own acts of kindness no matter how small. 

Officer Norman is unusual, but only because of the mass-acclaim and recognition he has received. There are many people out there just like him and at Maybo we meet these people every day. They may be carers, teachers, nurses or anyone in a person-centred role. Like Officer Norman, they do it for the satisfaction that comes from seeing others enjoying life or the thanks they get with a simple smile. We help them reflect on, acknowledge and build on their innate drive and ability to enhance the lives of others, and we often learn as much from them as they do from us.


By Mark Wakefield

Training and Business Development Manager, Maybo Australia and New Zealand



Posted by Maybo on August 25, 2016