|My mom with Bucky and Anne - Summer 1981|
There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.
R. Buckminster Fuller
BUCKY’S GIFT: Making a Difference
By Cheryl A. Cutting
“One person can make a difference,” Bucky said.
“But I’m just a kid,” Alia replied.
“Even a kid can make a difference,” Bucky answered patiently.
Alia thought about this as she sat watching Bucky write at his crowded work
table. Could it be true? She wondered, could a kid really make a difference in the
“How do I do it, Bucky? How can I make a difference in the world?” Alia asked as she
fidgeted with a colorful model of his funny looking dome invention.
Bucky set down his pencil and looked thoughtfully at Alia through his thick glasses
which made his eyes appear huge like a wise old owl’s.
“First, my child, you must think about what sort of difference you’d like to make.
Take a look at the world around you and see what is needed; then pick a path, begin your
journey, and expect miracles,” he said with a smile as he paused to sip some hot tea.
While Alia considered this, Bucky picked up his pencil and began writing again.
“What do you mean, ‘expect miracles’?” Alia looked confused.
“Many people believe miracles are extraordinary events which rarely happen, but in
my experience they are natural occurrences which happen all the time,” Bucky told her
without looking up from what he was writing. “Think of miracles as road
signs on your journey; when miracles happen the Universe is letting you know you’re
going in the right direction.”
“What kind of miracles?” asked Alia. “Do you mean like walking on water? I don’t
understand.” With this she got up and began to wander around the room touching the
seemingly hundreds of books lining his shelves. She wondered how any one person could
read so many books.
Bucky looked up at her now, and as he spoke she thought she saw a twinkle in his eye.
“Miracles, my dear, are most often simple things. Like when everything goes just right
or when little unexpected things happen to make your journey go more smoothly. If you
pay attention you’ll begin to see miracles all around you.”
“But how do I know which path to choose?” Alia wanted to know.
“Just pick a path, any path at all; then head down the path and expect miracles. If
miracles happen you’ll know you’re on the right path; if they don’t then simply change
paths,” he said matter-of-factly as if this answered her question completely.
“But what if I pick the wrong path?” She pressed him.
He took another long sip of the steamy tea and his glasses fogged up so much it made
“My dear child, there is no wrong path,” he said to her through foggy glasses. “All paths
lead us somewhere and there is always more than one way to get where we want to go.
The good news is if your vision is clear and you stay alert, the Universe will help you
navigate by all the little miracles which happen along the way.”
With this Bucky stood up, walked to a massive bookshelf and took down a road atlas.
“Come here, Alia; take a look at this,” he said as he laid the enormous book open on his
work table. “If you want to get from San Francisco to Boston there are any number of
roads you can take.” He drew his finger across the colorful map in different directions to
show her. “There is no right or wrong way to get from here to there; no right or wrong
path. Do you understand?” He asked.
“Sort of,” she replied. “But it’s easier for you, Bucky because everyone says you’re a
genius.” Alia was trying hard to understand, but felt it couldn’t be as easy as he was
Bucky laughed and said, “If you call me a genius then you let yourself off the hook quite
nicely. Don’t do that.” He paused to consider his next words and then said thoughtfully:
“The only difference between me and anyone else is I have a clear vision of the
difference I want to make in the world, and I have stuck with it even when times were
“But you said when miracles don’t happen I can just pick a new path,” Alia replied as she
took a sip of the tea she had been ignoring.
“When I say ‘change paths if miracles are not happening’ I don’t mean you should give
up simply because things get difficult. There’s value in challenges because they help us
grow,” said Bucky. “Sometimes it is us who need to change rather than the path.
There will be times when you change paths, and other times when you’ll need to be
patient and stick with it.
“What difference would you like to make in the world?” Bucky asked her.
“I don’t know yet,” Alia admitted.
“Well, if you’re willing to travel with your eyes, heart and mind wide open you will
walk your way into your answer.”
He pointed toward the large window in his office, and motioned her to look out at the
busy street below.
“Right here is where your journey begins, Alia. Today is always the perfect day to start
an adventure, and miracles are waiting for you right outside the door,” he said. “Make
brave choices and then pay attention so the Universe can guide you.”
“It seems a bit scary,” Alia confessed.
“If you were all alone it might be frightening,” he admitted. “But along the way you’ll
meet wonderful people who will share their gifts with you, and this will make your
journey so rich and exciting you won’t have time to be frightened.”
“Gifts! I love gifts! What sort of gifts will they be?” Alia asked eagerly.
Bucky sat back down at his overburdened work table and thought a moment before
“Every single person you meet will have a unique gift for you, Alia,” he said finally. “It
will be up to you to discover what it is.”
“What should I do with these gifts?” She wanted to know.
“Be thankful for them and never take them for granted. These gifts are the treasures of
your journey and they are meant to help you along your way.
The most important thing you can do is share the gifts you receive because gifts get better
when they are shared. If you do nothing more than share your gifts you will make a
difference in the world,” he told her. With that he picked up his pencil again and began
“Thank you, Bucky,” said Alia.
And the next time he looked up from his work table the bright afternoon sun was shining
through the open door and she was gone.
© Cheryl Cutting 2012
This is a fictional story about an actual gift Bucky Fuller gave me when I was a young
girl. I hope you enjoyed reading about this gift as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with
you. Remember to keep your eyes, heart and mind wide open so you can discover the
gifts waiting for you on your journey; and when you find them don’t forget to share!
R. Buckminster Fuller
Bucky’s real name was, Richard Buckminster Fuller, but he preferred more simply to be
called Bucky. He was regarded by many as one of the most important figures of the 20th
century. Bucky was known the world over as an architect, inventor, designer,
philosopher and visionary. When I met him he was 85 years old.
Bucky lived his life trying to answer one question; he wanted to know if humanity had a
chance to survive successfully on Earth, and if so, how? He loved this planet (he called it
Spaceship Earth), and he loved all people. He worked to find ways to make sure our
planet would survive, and all people would survive and be healthy and happy together.
One of the most extraordinary things about Bucky was he believed one person can
make a difference, even on a big problem, if they set their mind to it. He had a large
vision, he served humanity and he was living proof one person really can make a
difference. If you want to learn more about Bucky’s inventions and ideas you can find
information about him on the internet, at your local library, or by contacting the
Buckminster Fuller Institute: www.bfi.org