...you just have to make a difference in someone else's.
On the way to work this morning, I drove past our local Fire Station. Outside the Fire Station is a small fire hydrant sculpture flanked by two Dalmation statues.
Every night, usually, we take a walk around our neighborhood which always takes us past the Fire Station. Every single time, we have to stop so that our 2 year old can "see" the dogs. For some reason, she puts a small rock on each of their heads, gives them a hug and we continue our walk. The next time we go, the rocks are mysteriously gone, and we repeat the process again.
When I drove past the Fire Station this morning, I looked over at the dogs and noticed that the rocks were still there, sitting on top of each dog's head, exactly where our daughter had put them last night. Even though I knew she was safe and sleeping in her bed, I felt a little twinge of missing her, and wanting to see her right at that moment. It felt kind of silly, but it made me think that this tiny little act, this "rock on the head" custom that we participate in, is huge to me. It made a difference to me to know that this little ritual can have such a colossal effect on my mood and psyche. It was proof, right at that moment, that the past can help to shape the future and everything we do, every decision we make, ultimately has an impact. What we think may be only a ripple turns out sometimes to be a tidal wave to someone else.
So philosophy takes over, and I start thinking about how the tiniest of acts can make an enormous difference to others. In particular, how teachers interact with their students, how teachers interact with each other, and how administrators interact with their teachers. It makes me think about how our world is closing in, and that participation in all of these social networking tools may be small acts, but they are changing the world one tweet at a time.
I like that the context of my day can be metaphorical for the world we're living in now, and how so many of these tiny daily interactions make the world of difference to me, the people I work with and teach, and ultimately the kids who benefit from a richer, more multi-layered educational experience.
Our daughter wasn't looking to change the world, but she did change mine this morning. How often do we let these little subtleties of life shape us? How often are our eyes open to notice them? How willing are we to let these little things have an effect?
This is what the participatory culture is all about, having an effect on each other, no matter how small, and letting those tiny changes make the biggest difference.
In just a few hours, it will be time for another walk; it will be another opportunity to enjoy the fresh air, visit the dogs, place a couple of rocks on their heads, and change the world again.