“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
― Robert F. Kennedy
This is one of my dad’s favorite quotes. It speaks to the ripple effect and reminds me constantly of how each and every one of us affect the course of the universe each day.
I used to be picked on every day in my eight grade health class. I was the new girl at school, didn’t have many friends, and didn’t know how to stand up for myself. One day after health class, I broke down crying at the guidance office, saying that no one liked me. My counselor decided to set me up with a potential friend. I was to give a tour of the school to a girl that was moving in the next week. During the tour, the new girl brought up the fact that she ran cross country. I was never a runner, but she convinced me to give it a try. Through running I found myself, changed a lot, met some amazing people who shaped my life, and so much more. Looking back on my life, everything that means anything to me, besides my family, resulted from joining cross country, which resulted from talking with the new girl, which resulted being bullied in my eight grade health class.
Sometimes I wish I could go back and find that guy. I’d thank him. Because he’s one of the reasons I’m typing this today. But more importantly I’d want him to see how much he affected my life. His negative influence happened to have affected me in a positive way, but we can’t be all that lucky. His actions towards other people could have had a negative effect. And I’d like him to realize the magnitude of his ripple before it’s too late.
He, like most other people, did not realize how big their ripples are, how much of an affect they have on other people, and, consequently, the rest of the world. Ripples start with simple, small moments. Those small moments affect a few other moments, which in turn affect a few others, which affect others. And soon, one single moment, sentence, or act has affected an entire ocean of moments, people, and lifetimes. The smallest of the small moments in one’s life could quite possibly affect the whole world, and therefore to be aware of one’s ripple is very important indeed.
Everyone’s ripple is larger than they think it is. We all affect mountains of people every day with both words and actions. Whether you realize it or not, everything you say and do changes a little bit of someone else’s life. And if you are aware of this ripple, you’ll be able to be conscious of how you act and therefore be able to control the impact you have on others.
So kind of ripple will you make? Will it be a positive one? Or a negative one? Will you be consistently aware of it so you can control its impacts? Or will you forget its existences and forget that you matter as well?
Whatever your answer may be, think carefully; the ripple effect of this small decision could possible affect the whole world.