CHANGE THE WORLD
“Jimmy, get up now, or you’ll be late.”
His mom stood outside his door, her arms full of laundry. “So what? So the bus driver will hit the car that would have been a minute later if he hadn't waited for you to cross the street, still fiddling with the arm of your jacket.”
Jim sat up in his bed, rubbed his eyes and scratched the back of his head. “What?”
His mom went on, “While the bus has to wait for you, two boys in the back of the bus start fighting. When you get in the bus, the driver is distracted and doesn’t pay attention at the stop sign. If the bus had been a minute earlier, that car would not have raced through the intersection at the same time as the bus. Because the bus hit the car (no one was hurt, but the radiator and headlights on the bus were smashed), the driver had to pull over to the side of the road and call in for a back-up bus. By the time the back-up bus got there and all you students were unloaded and loaded into the new bus, you arrived at school an hour late. Because you missed the P.E. test, you are not allowed on the baseball team. Because you are not on the baseball team, you will not get a scholarship to college. Because you don’t get a scholarship to college, you have to work through your college years.”
Jim interrupted her. “Really, Mom? All because I am running behind this morning?” He yawned and swung his feet over the side of the bed.
“Everything we do affects everything around us, one way or another,” said his mom. She set his laundry on top of his dresser.
“But you could never prove what might have happened.”
“No, but you can be sure that irresponsibility and negligence have negative effects.”
“Like ripples in a pond,” said Jimmy.
“Exactly. And responsibility also creates a ripple effect. It may not look like much, like being on time, but you can influence or change the world by throwing out good ripples, too.”
Jimmy said, “Let me try. Because I am running late, you are distracted and forget to turn the faucet off in the sink. The sink overflows, ruins the floor and we have it replaced. The extra expense means we have to postpone getting my braces. Which actually doesn’t sound so bad, come to think of it.”
“Okay Jim, you have the idea. You are still running behind this morning.”
“Here’s another one,” said Jim. “Because I am not on the baseball team I decide to play football. Because I am on the football team and can throw well, they make me quarterback. Because I am quarterback I meet the girls on the cheerleading team…”
“Jim…” Mother’s voice strung out a note of irritation.
Jim laughed, got up and walked toward the bathroom.
“Hey Jim,” said his mom.
“We just had a serious conversation, and it’s only five minutes after seven. It’s going to be a good day.”