Rippling Effects

When I was a child, my father showed me that rocks can skip across the water of a pond rather than sink if you held them just right. I spent an entire afternoon trying to get the rock to bounce and dance across the water, more often than not it would do a small hop before it sank beneath the surface. I’m pretty sure by the end of it all my father and I knew I’d never be great at skipping rocks, which I don’t’ think was a huge disappointment to either of us.

What I did learn from that afternoon that stuck with me more than the physics lesson was that regardless of how the rock was introduced to the water it left its mark on the water. The surface of the water ended up with circular ripples regardless of how gracefully or not the rock danced across it. The harder the rock impacted the water, the bigger the ripples.

I like to think that when I work with people, either in class or in small sessions, what I’m ultimately doing is leaving ripples upon their surfaces. How far those ripples travel or what even happens after the ripples have been introduced can be hard to discern for each person must make meaning of the interactions as they will. Each of us will assign a degree of importance to the ripples made in our lives and then we will decide what to do next.

We may decide to gently interact with others, peacefully and respectfully. Or we may decide that we need to interact more strongly. And we may, at times, decide that we will wait until the ripples have dissipated and at other times we will ride those ripples as part of our journey. They may change us permanently by setting us on a new course or they may be smaller and not so much a journey as part of a ride. None of us are safe from the ripples, unless we build a wall around ourselves. And who wants to do that?


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