It occurs to me that I do more thinking about life, and how choices and actions affect not just your own but those around you as my children get older.
I was sitting in the stands this weekend, talking to the Teenager’s best friend, Junior. We were watching Jock compete in a decathlon. (Side note: holy heck that is a grueling competition! The athletes were all jelly by the time things were done!) As Junior and I sat there, I could see that something was bothering him. He’s normally a pretty cheerful kid when he’s around us, but this time something was off. Being the nosy mom that I am, I asked.
Wanna know something pretty cool? He actually told me.
Anyway, turns out that Junior was fighting with his parents. And stressing over where his life is headed, what direction it should go, and the fact that he just doesn’t know WHAT he wants to do with it. He wants to make a difference, but he just doesn’t see how he ever can or will. Junior’s told me before how my Teenager has been a good influence on him, getting him to stop doing self-destructive things just by watching the choices Jock was making in his own life. Being the clever meddler that I am, I shamelessly used my boy as an example of how you can make a difference without being the center of the World’s attention.
I told him that although the Teenager might not have the most book smarts, he pushes himself to do the best he can do so that he can play sports. He has a goal in mind for his life, and knows there are certain things he has to do to get there. He is determined, he is focused, and he is stubborn. And then I asked Junior what he thought Bug thought of his big brother. He idolizes him, he told me. Wants to be just like him.
Now, take Bug’s book smarts and creativity, combined with Jock’s determination, focus and stubbornness. Do you see the possibilities for Bug? What if Bug goes on in life to invent something that changes the course of someone’s life? Do you realize that would be because he was trying to follow his brother’s example of making the right life choices? Junior, everyone – EVERYONE – touches someone else’s life. Everyone creates a ripple effect. Your choice is simply whether or not you want your ripples to be positive or negative.
Junior and I talked for just a bit longer, and I told him that when we dropped him off at his house after the meet he needed to go and make things right with his mother. Moms put up with a lot of crap from most of the world; we shouldn’t have to put up with it at home. He told Jock later that I had really gotten to him, and that the first thing he did when he walked in the door was to apologize to his mom and tell her he loved her.
I’ve talked before about my conviction that everyone influences people. I am so proud of my boys for the positive ripples they create on a daily basis.