Think about the ocean and how the waters ripple around the earth. Think about a lake and If you throw a pebble into a lake, the ripples can expand throughout the entire area. Think of a big bowl of water, and when you put your hand in the water, it creates a ripple effect. The world is kind of like a big bowl of water as well. Even though we live on a big planet of water with different countries on it, it’s still one big ball.
That is what we do as humans–we create ripple effects. Think of what you do to create ripple effects in your own community and in your own life. We all have the ability to create ripples of change whether they are large or small.
If you are a person of faith or a spiritual person, that can start a ripple effect by sharing joy, love, and kindness with everyone you meet. When people are kind to one another, that also starts a ripple effect because they are doing the Lord’s work. If you are serving your community, that can start a ripple effect because you are serving others and modeling acts of service to others. If you are a parent, your actions are teaching your kids to create ripple effects in their own lives and in their community so that they can teach their kids to do the same thing.
I went to a summer camp called “Camp TBI” at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, Georgia for 12 years, and the people who worked at the camp were students at the Medical College of Georgia. I started going there in 2004 and it had such an impact on my development, because I got one-on-one time with many selfless people. I was treated with compassion, and it made me want to stay at camp all year round. The way I was impacted is the way I try to impact people now. To me that is a ripple effect because I was treated with kindness, respect, and selflessness. This impacted me then and it still does now. The way people at camp respected one another is the way I want to have a ripple effect on everyone I meet.
That is just one example of how ripple effects can happen. To get back to this larger conversation of how compassion can ripple across the world beyond your own neighborhood and community. As I see what is going on in Afghanistan right now, I think that part of the world could use a ripple effect of compassion. I am heartbroken to see what is going on in Afghanistan with their humanitarian crisis. What is happening in Afghanistan cannot be fixed very easily. I realize that I cannot directly impact what is happening there, but maybe that situation can make us think about how we deal with our own lives, our own issues, and our own problems.
There is a lot of misfortune going on all around us right now. Hurricane Ida, all the flooding across Tennessee and other states, and, of course, COVID-19–there are people all around us who need our support, our help, and our prayers. In these political times, everyone is picking political sides thinking of their own viewpoints, but no one seems to be actually thinking about the people. Let’s remember everyone’s humanity first.
It is my feeling that you can do what I just described on a much smaller scale. You don’t have to start big; you can start small and go outwards and then go bigger, whether that is taking food to someone, or mowing the grass for an elderly neighbor, or writing kind words on note cards to give to your neighbors. Then maybe they will do the same for you or others. You can do that, but you can do it in other ways. You don’t have to do it the way I described. You can figure out a system that works for you. Here is my challenge for you: start by doing one act of kindness and see how it changes your life and changes your friend’s life and so on and so on.
Think of a beach and how the tide ripples from the ocean–that’s a ripple effect. Think about the kindness challenge and just imagine the good one person can do.