When a pebble is dropped in calm water, ripples are produced in every direction. If nothing else interferes, the range of the ripples will increase, even though the effect of the pebble diminishes as they go.
If a second pebble is dropped, it changes the ripples from the first pebble, amplifying in some areas, reducing in others.
This is a metaphor for life… and for The Ripple Effect of Parenting.
The Ripple Effect of Parenting
The pebbles represent the decisions we make as parents, like whether or not to enforce the household rules. As time passes, the scope of their repercussions widens, although the impact fades.
Early decisions affect later decisions, some amplifying situations, and some calming them. Both affect us, but we get to decide if the effect is going to be positive, negative or neutral.
The hundreds of decisions I made when I was in high school (including the stupid ones), the thousands of decisions I made in college (also including the stupid ones), and the bazillion decisions I have made since then as a teacher and as a parent (of course, still including the stupid ones), have all had a Ripple Effect on where I am now, and the changes I’ve experienced.
I am the sum total of all of all my experiences – the ones I controlled, and the ones that controlled me… and I’m okay with that.
Change Is Normal
Change. That’s a pretty scary word for most of us, but it shouldn’t be. Change is constant, and change is normal, so embrace it.
If we don’t change by design, we change by atrophy.
Either way, we change.
Sometimes change intimidates me, too, but then I remember that I am the sum total of all the changes that have already occurred. Since I appreciate most of what’s been produced so far, I’m alright with the changes I face.
Besides, what I don’t like, I can change. 😉
So, I invite you to take charge of yourself, and change with intention. What would you like your next Ripple Effect to affect?
The world? Your country? Your state? Your town? Your home?
Your fitness level? Your habits? How you have fun?
Your people skills? Your skill set? Your mindset?
Your intellect? Your techie-lect? Your nutrition?
Warning: Don’t even bother trying to change your family or relatives!
Or your cat.
Only mess with the things you can control, i.e., YOU. If you want to positively influence your kids’ behavior, all you have to do is lead by example. They’ll follow your model. Teach them to listen to you by listening to them. Handle consequences of your poor decisions gracefully so they’ll know how to deal with the cost of their own actions. Follow through and follow up, and they’ll follow you.
Changing to Organic
Anything you want to change (except the aforementioned cat) can be approached by starting with a small increment, and building on that.
Take switching over to Organic Food as an example. Making that change is good for:
> • you and your health, which makes you a happier parent
> • your family’s health and wellbeing, which can make raising kids easier
> • our environment, which is better for everyone
Start with a small change. Just spend $10 of your grocery bill on Organic Produce. Every time you buy something, you are casting a vote for what you want the store to provide.
Imagine if, over the course of a week, 100 customers bought a mere $10 worth of Organic Produce. That would jump the demand for Organic Produce up $1000 a week!
The effect of your Ripple, combined with the Ripples of other shoppers (whom you may have never met), creates a very real impact on the purchasing practices of the grocery store. That’s buying power!
The decisions you make today will be part of the sum total of who you will be tomorrow. Is that an outstanding life lesson to model for your kids, or what?
Now, go get someone to Ripple with you, and…
Let the Rippling Begin!
Until the next time,
PS There was this old commercial that began with a couple of snowflakes drifting to the ground. The narrator says, “Yeah, they look innocent enough…” and then it cuts to a blizzard, and he says, “…until they gang up on you!”
The individual flake has no significant effect, but combining it with the others produces a way more powerful impact. It’s the same with us. Our individual efforts may not seem like much, but every little bit counts when you put it all together! And, that’s how we positively impact our families, and our world… together!