Amy Rees Anderson

The Difference One Person Can Make

Last night my daughter came in to tell me about her day.  She was clearly in a really good mood despite the fact she wasn’t feeling well still.  As she started to tell me about her day she was really excited to share her experience with a substitute teacher that taught one of her classes.  “She was so happy to teach us today, she was super excited about everything, and it was just cool!”  She went on to share how amazing it was to her to see how the excitement and happiness of this one substitute teacher had completely changed her own mood. “I wasn’t feeling good and I was having a bad day, but then I had that class and she was so happy and fun that it totally changed the way I felt – it’s amazing mom how just one person could completely change my day for the better.”

Profound observation and I was really thankful that she shared her experience with me because it totally reminded me that every single one of us has the power to change other people’s day for the better if we try to.  This teacher hadn’t gone out of her way to help my daughter, but just by having a positive attitude she was able to change the course of my daughter’s day and she likely wouldn’t have even known it, except my daughter said she was so grateful for the teacher’s attitude that she actually waited to go up to her after the class so she could thank her for being so awesome.  I am sure that made the teacher’s day to be thanked liked that and I was really proud of Ashley for staying to do that.  I swear that kid is my example and my hero in this life.  I want to be like her when I grow up 🙂 

It really is amazing – how one person can make your worst day feel incredibly perfect by just smiling, or making you laugh, or noticing you, or thanking you, or being fun and enthusiastic.  It doesn’t cost us anything to be any of those things, and we all have time to smile or say hi or give a hug.  I think we sometimes just need to be reminded how important it is to pay attention to doing those things.  We need to be reminded to make it a priority to lift others spirits.  And we need to be reminded that it does make a difference to other people we come in contact with.  It truly does.  Not only that, but it will impact people well beyond who we even come in contact with.  Think about it – That teacher made a difference to my daughter, and she also had an impact on me just by hearing about the story from my daughter, even though I wasn’t there to experience it myself just hearing about it makes me want to be better about lifting others up.  And now here I am writing to all of you about how touched I was by it, and chances are that some of you will be touched as well and it will make you want to be better about lifting others, and perhaps some of you will tell others about that and the ripple effect will continue to grow bigger and bigger – all from one substitute teacher’s kindness and enthusiasm in a high school classroom yesterday.   One simple good act and the impact is immeasurable! 

YES it makes me want to be the one starting more ripples by being the person to lift others up!  And hopefully it makes all of you want to be that person as well.  We should all make a goal to start a new ripple of goodness at least once every day.  If all of us did that just think of how far reaching the impact would be by the time all our ripples began to spread!  HUGE!  I LOVE IT!  LET’S DO IT!  I know I am committed to it.  I am even going to write myself a note on my board that says “Start a Ripple Today!” so that every day I will be reminded. 

Here is a great quote to leave you with as you head into the weekend.  Have a GREAT one everyone!  And go start some RIPPLES!!

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring: all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”    –Leo Buscaglia



  • Phadke says:

    Namaste Amy Rees Anderson,

    Thanks a lot for posting this real time experience. I am re-sharing it on LinkedIn as well as on Google+.

    This is Phadke S. N. from India

  • Bradley says:

    Hi Amy!! Your message is right on the money!! I think that if we could all make a difference even in just taking time say hello, open the door for others (more gentleman like), and simply act as though God was next to us, then truly what a ripple we could make. Hoping all is extra-ordinary!!

  • Ken Markiewicz says:

    Hi Amy, I’d like you to know your posting Ripple through many of my days. Your gift of sharing your thoughts, insights, and experiences is so helpful and wonderful! Thanks

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