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What's in a Pebble?

A pebble. Just a little rock. So what can it do? If you ask me, lots.


Pebbles can be something as simple as decoration – in a yard, in a pot, or even in a simple dish on the side table. They are beautiful in a flowing stream. Pebbles can be useful. They are necessary in making concrete and asphalt. They are part of what make up runaway ramps on highways. They save lives. Think about it.


I also believe pebbles can make a difference in your life. Maybe you’re not a truck driver so we won’t say it will save your life but if you think about it in a different way, pebbles might just change it for the better.


I’ve always believed in the little things in life making a huge difference. A smile can pick us up when we feel down. A kind word can pull us out of a funk. Hugs, oh the magic of hugs.


When my kids were young they would come home and tell me about their day. I loved that. Even if it was only five minutes, just their desire to share those stories with me made my day. Sometimes they would tell me about an incident where another wasn’t very kind, whether to them or to someone else. Or, I can remember one day in particular, where one of them talked about another student who just really got on her nerves. She wasn’t mean. In fact, she really wanted to befriend my daughter and had a very chipper personality. There were words like, “She gets on my nerves,” “Why doesn’t she leave me alone?”


With every one of these situations, we would talk about what the other person might be experiencing, right then or at home, what they might be seeing through their eyes, and what kind of person they might be looking for in a friend. Then it was how did my daughter fit into their moment? One of the most frequently used lines was, “Just be nice. You never know what will come in the future with this person.”


Years later, they worked together on a school project. My daughter came to me one day and said, “ You know, mom, I always remembered what you said about just being nice because you never know. I’m glad because I’ve really come to like ‘so-and-so’.” They are still friends more than ten years later.


The pebble, right.


What if my daughter wasn’t so nice those many years ago? What if she completely rejected this young girl? What would the girl have done with those feelings? We can all imagine any number of dark paths she could have taken. They don’t have to be dramatic or national newsworthy to be impactful. The point is a small act of kindness led to a lasting friendship. Is it possible that other kind and loving relationships branched out from that situation as well? I say yes. This is where the pebble comes in.


Let’s imagine a walk in the woods where we come upon a pond or lake. It’s a calm morning. No wind, no ripples. The water is like glass reflecting the trees and sky. Now pick up a small, pea-sized pebble and simply toss it into the water. That tiny pebble makes a tiny splash, barely audible. But the ripple grows and grows, affecting the whole of the water.


This is the same as our interactions with others. At times like these I struggle to figure out if I can make a difference in the world. I’m not someone who is drawn to doing something that will get a lot of attention. I applaud those who feel such conviction and can act on it in a positive way. My heart hurts at times with evidence of simply being mean. What can I do? The best answer I can come up with is to simply be as nice as possible, whenever possible. In so doing, I can hope that my pebbles affect the pond in which I live and ripple out even bigger.


So I ask you, what kind of pebbles are you throwing? What kind of effect do you want to have?


“Be the change you want to see in the world.” - Ghandi


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