September 6, 2009

the ripple effect

in 06-07, i served as a leader in the collegiate level of a very large international service organization. it was, perhaps, the most defining experience of my life thus allowed me to step outside my own problems and focus on service to others. i learned the importance of selflessness, and how much of a difference one can make by dedicating themselves to something outside of our own lives, even with the smallest effort.

now, two years later, i am able to realize just how much of a difference each and every small act makes...and i am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by people who make such an incredible difference in my life every single day by doing something they likely don't think twice about.

i realize, looking back, how easy it was to describe the effect of small acts of kindness. however, the impact of people's efforts was never more real than it is right now. here's what i had to say about it then. all i have to add today is 'thank you'...

Think back to when you were a kid and you would throw rocks into puddles just to watch the ripples echo out from where the rock hit. Then think of a time you tried to throw a larger rock into the puddle, and instead of seeing the ripples you may have anticipated, you watched as much of the water was displaced from the puddle in an abrupt splash. Then, with the desire to watch the ripples again, you continued to only throw small pebbles.

I challenge you to consider how you can make ripples by reaching out and touching the lives of the others that you work with. Making ripples by focusing on the small acts of kindness that make a difference. Often times we get carried away and think that we must do monumental things in order to make a difference and see change. If you’ve ever thought this way, next time it rains, go outside and throw two rocks into a puddle, one large rock and one small pebble. Then watch as the large rock creates a bigger splash that lasts only moments, while the small pebble creates ripples that last much longer.

Marian Wright Edelman once said “We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”

When I think of the moments that have left the most lasting impact on me, it is always the small moments. They are not monumental acts; however, they are the moments that have had the most impact on me. These have been the small acts that have given me light in my dull moments and motivated me to push forward.

You, too, can have the same impact on others. I challenge you to take a moment to do something little, just throw the pebble and then step back and watch the ripples, and I promise you will be amazed by the things you can accomplish by just one small act.

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