Commentary: Actions of one can bring peace to community

Commentary: Actions of one can bring peace to community

The Westerly Sun

This commentary is the last of a four-part series. The author, from Westerly, was featured in a July 6 article describing his involvement as a leader in the local affiliate of the global Summer of Peace 2017 movement.

Recently my 12-year-old, seventh-grade grandson was asked by his teacher what would he like to be when he grew up. He responded by saying that he would like to be someone who made the world a better place for all. “Well, yes, that’s a good goal, but what do you want to have for a job,” his teacher asked. His reply: “I’m not sure what I want to do for a job, but whatever I do I still want to contribute to creating a better world for all.”

The point here is no matter what your situation is you can contribute to the process of creating a culture of peace. As Gandhi challenged us, “Be the change you want to see.”

Given the current condition of our world with all the anger and turmoil and disregard for each other, working toward, or even talking about, creating a culture of peace can seem very idealistic, some will even say unrealistic. It can also be disheartening and somewhat overwhelming when thinking about the work that needs to be done. “What can an ordinary person like me do?” is not an uncommon sentiment.

Nevertheless it is important to not lose heart for, every one of us has something to contribute.

Like a small pebble dropped into a pond causes a ripple effect that moves across the pond, our choices and actions have an ever widening effect. We are not separate selves with no connection to each other. We are all interconnected. We are all a “self with others.” So what we do or don’t do moves out from us and touches and affects others.

Most of us have heard of “the butterfly effect,” “the ripple effect” and “the snowball effect,” to name a few of these phenomena. They come out of the world of science and their validity is well supported by research. When used to explain events in the popular culture they are not as well researched. However, it does seem that most of us have had experiences wherein our choices and actions have had an impact on a large group. I am not talking about situations in which someone has power over a group, like a company owner, and can thus order the group to do something. I am talking about ordinary everyday life wherein someone chooses to take a step forward and many others start to follow.

Many groups and organizations started because one or two people decided to do something about a situation. For example, there is MADD, AA, Big Brothers, hospice, and the Red Cross, to name but a few well known organizations. There are also many other examples of smaller, lesser known organizations that are the result of ordinary individuals taking that first step.

I suppose I could ramble on forever in my attempts to convince you of the power you have to bring about change. I could add more examples, provide research, and quote many spiritual leaders all supporting the power of one.

But the bottom line is, whether you believe in your power or not, hopefully you do believe that you alone, or with others, can bring about change and will start to use your power to create a culture of peace in which all beings will thrive.


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