I missed the memo about Superpowers, Ripples, & RFK
I have a six year old son and he and I have our best talks when he’s in the bathtub. Maybe it’s the time of day, or maybe there’s something in the water in California, but something about being in the tub makes him loopy and truthful in a way that’s pretty entertaining. It was during one of these bathtub talks that my son asked, “Mommy, do you have any secrets?” I was charmed and intrigued by this question, but I wasn’t sure what he was getting at, so I asked him, “What kind of secrets do you mean, sweetheart?”
And with the sincerity that only a six year old could muster about this kind of thing, he asked, “Are you a superhero?” I guess, to him, it seems totally plausible that I have an alter-ego and that I’m out saving the world when he isn’t looking.
Now, to be a superhero, one must have superpowers, so I started to take an inventory and feared I came up a bit short. It’s not just that I can’t fly or leap over tall buildings in a single bound, it’s that I’m also not rich or famous, I haven’t won any pageants, I haven’t invented anything or cured anything, in truth I I haven’t really made a big splash, but I’d like to think I’ve made a few ripples.
And then it occurred to me…maybe the ability to make meaningful ripples is my superpower.
Now, a ripple is just a a transfer of energy. If we are talking about throwing a pebble into a pond, the energy is transferred from the hand that throws it, to the flying pebble and then to the water, causing the water to move. But if we’re talking about people, it’s our actions, even our really small ones, that cause our energy to be transferred from ourselves outward. The Dalai Lama eloquently tweeted:
Now, making ripples isn’t always easy. It takes effort…it’s overcoming your inertia and your trepidation and just doing something that makes a bit of change. Even with the best of intentions, the big ocean of life has a way of getting busy and bureaucratic. Instead of getting to enjoy the ripples, we sometimes just hold on for dear life as we try to stay afloat amongst the tidal wives that come with demanding careers and busy families.
But returning to slightly more uplifting thoughts…another kind of amazing thing about ripples is their collective effect. In speaking at the University of Capetown back in 1966, Robert Kennedy said something about this that is bigger and more eloquent than anything than I could ever say, so I’ll share his words with you:
“Tiny ripples of hope”…”a million centers of energy and daring”…wow, do you get the Kennedy chills from that one? I sure do.
So, I suppose I’ll just try to keep throwing pebbles in the pond. Making ripples and memo received.