And we do.
Have you ever heard someone say that he or she is not out to change the world? That he or she just wants to contribute in small part; make a difference? I have. I know what people mean when they say that. Such statements come out of modesty and the people making them are commendable. But they are unrealistic. While the person making such claims is humble and honest, he or she does not realize one of the truest laws of the Universe:
Every action we take changes the world.
In more ways than one.
I cannot know if Isaac Newton thought about the full implications of what became known as Newton's Third Law of Motion that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. I have always struggled with such a narrow view of how objects interact with each other. I understand that Newton only focused on the forces between the two interacting objects, but it has been my experience that things and beings are so deeply interconnected that every action I take has multiple reactions.
The Ripple Effect Chain Reaction
A ripple effect occurs whenever we do something. What we do affects those around us. They react and their reactions affect those around them. Greater number of people still is affected as a result of these third party reactions. And so an unstoppable chain reaction ensues.
This phenomenon truly alters our world. This is why I believe that by their very nature people are good. If we weren't, we would have led to our own demise a long time ago. Sure, we often stumble and make mistakes. Sure there are places in the world where human rights are being violated and humans dehumanized. Most places on earth are not like that though and there are always people who work to improve the condition of those oppressed. If Edmund Burke is correct in saying that "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing," then we must make sure that we take a stand against evil, tyranny, bigotry, racism, and any other false claims of superiority.
We must do good ourselves, help others do good, and teach our kids to do good. When we do that we truly affect positive change and feel fulfilled.
The Aliens Believe in Us
It would be oblivious not to recognize however, that some actions humans take are so heinous they send ripples that distort the order of the Universe. The media provides an extensive coverage of street crimes, school shootings, and acts of terrorism. In those instances I wish that people watching the news can turn off the tube and remember that for every one of those horrible events there are hundreds of acts of kindness, goodness, and courage being "perpetrated" by the human race.
I also wholeheartedly believe the advanced alien races observing us from far away notice that most humans mean well and that our good deeds far outweigh our transgressions. I mean, being wiped out from existence or mined for resources sounds appealing to no one.
So What Am I Saying Here?
Teacher and psychologist Haim G. Ginott understood this profound world-changing power we all possess when he said “I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.”
So make the decision to harness all of your power to do good. This is especially important if you are an educator as your actions affect tens, hundreds, even thousands of kids every day. Strive to create a positive climate around you every day. Be the instrument of inspiration to others.
Realize your power to change the world and follow this Universal Truth. When you do, your classroom, the school, and the world will be a better place.
The students and adults around you will be better.
And you will be a superhero.
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You Have the Power to Change the World. Use it often.