The Story of the Marbles and People Making a Difference

Mike Schoultz
4 min readAug 25, 2022

Pericles is known for the quote: What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others. He knew the importance of people making a difference.

People making a difference and who connect emotionally start with a simple smile, it is not rocket science. It is only real when it is shared, and you can’t do too much sharing. Do you sometimes wonder how much-unseen impact your actions and life is having on others?

I read a story on this subject along the way in my career and would like to share it with this community. The story is told by a man at a local grocery store. This man noticed a small boy, ragged but clean, who he described as hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas.

The man was looking over some of the new fresh produce on his way out when he overheard the conversation between the store owner and the ragged boy.

Hello Barry, how are you today? The hungry boy replied Hello Mr. Miller, Fine, thank you. Jus’ admirin’ them peas… sure look good. Each time the little boy would come to the store the conversation would have a similar tone.

He would ask him how he was doing and how his mom was. She was sick, and they just didn’t have much at home. Yet this hungry young boy’s attention was always on the fresh produce.

Mr. Miller would always ask if Barry would like to take some home. Barry would reply No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for them with. And Mr. Miller would say, Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?

Barry would say, All I got is my prize marble here. Is that right? Let me see it. Mr. Miller would take a careful look at it and compliment the boy on his prized marble. Mr. Miller would say, Well, the only thing is this one is blue, and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one at home? The little boy would say not exactly, but he had one sort of like it.

Mr. Miller would then send the boy home with the marble and peas and asked him to bring the red marble back when he found it.

Mike Schoultz

Mike Schoultz writes about improving the performance of business. Bookmark his blog for stories and articles.