Life is pretty interesting most of the time. Everyday there will be choices we must make. The daily choices we make can have consequences both good and bad. One interesting thing about this is, we can’t ever fully see the scope of how far reaching our choices are. In an ideal world we try our best to make the choices we feel are best for us, but in all situations and circumstances we aren’t always able to choose the outcomes we’d like.
All our actions rely a lot on faith. We go to school in hopes that we can gain an education that will help us be employed. We work so that we can earn money to hopefully provide a better life for us and those around us. We follow laws in hopes that order in society will bring peace (this one is a bit of stretch). I blog in hopes that something I say will have an impact on someone out there, even if the reach of my posts are maybe a handful of people or less.
I sometimes wonder what my life would be like had a went to a different school growing up. Would I be the way I am now? Was I shaped by the friends I had at my school? If I had different friends would I be a completely different person? Or would nothing change because that’s just the way I am? These are sort of the larger ripples of life choices that we can’t really see the effects of, because they become so immersive that you just won’t know.
The ripples of choice that I was thinking about was more along the lines of random acts of kindness, that while we might not be able to see any effects from, sometimes do come back to us in some way shape or form. I have heard countless stories and accounts of individuals who have changed their lives completely because of one single act of kindness from someone in their lives. This change they enacted in their own lives prompted them to be more kind or generous to others, and the cycle goes on from there. I can’t recall a specific example of when my actions had a great and lasting impact, or rather I can’t think of times when I had a positive impact on people. I can think of a time when my negative actions towards a friend had a positive impact on his life and the lives of those he encountered. I was such a jerk as a child.
So one of my best friends growing up is an immigrant to Canada. When he first moved here, he was a portly child, and we affectionately called him fat all the time. He enjoyed eating KFC as a child in Hong Kong where he was from. He wasn’t all that athletic but enjoyed playing with us. We were friends but kids are mean creatures who don’t usually feel remorse for their actions. Over the course of several years we would pick on him, but because of my beliefs and the way we grew up we had developed a stronger friendship through religion. It was apparent when we were between the ages of 12-14 that he wasn’t as athletic as the rest of us. We would tease him about it but we accepted him for who he was. He was always strong in character and attitude, and still is to this day. He turned all the teasing we had done towards him in high school in to positive energy. He began to work out more to become stronger physically, by the middle of high school he was on his high school football team as a lineman. The habits he developed in high school made him really enjoy working out, something that he does professionally now as a physical trainer for performance athletes in a gym he co-owns. He attributes his desire to working out to us picking on him as a child. This isn’t the best example but it’s the only one that comes to mind right now, and it does illustrate how our actions can change people. We chose to be mean as children (some might think it’s inherent in children to be mean) and it caused him to change his life path and be where he is now. For the record he wanted to be a cop for the longest time even up until he was in university, and we are still best friends to this day.
While we can do our best to mitigate any extreme negative consequences, the reality of the matter is that our lives aren’t that simple. All we can do is do our best, treat others with kindness and hope that in the end all will be well, as it usually is, all it takes is time. Something that is precious and undervalued for it’s worth, but that’s another topic for another time.