People often speak of ripples and dominos when describing how our actions and choices effect those around us. I perceive ripples to be how goodness spreads, how one good turn touches another. I imagine the domino effect to be someone crashing and taking everything and everyone within his path with him. The domino effect could be described as a chain reaction, but I call it a path of destruction. I suppose to some degree it can be used to describe the turn of the stock market, gas prices, and our current economic status.
I’ve known people in my life who refuse to go down easily or alone. They pull and grasp at everyone within reach…not that they think it’s a lifeline to save them, but just so they make someone else look just as badly as they go down. Or maybe misery really does love company!
I feel the chain reaction of the domino effect is stronger and harsher, with attitude and more purposeful, than the gentle waves that reach out and caress the ones nearby. Ripples sway me to and fro like a lullaby while the idea of a domino effect has my head filled with idea of being crushed in a mosh pit.
I never owned a set of dominos as a child, but I was intrigued by them. I used to play them with my baby sitter, but of course we played nicely. However, my nephew (he was only six years younger) and I would set his dominoes up throughout the house. We lined them on ramps made of books. We’d make intricate designs…all with the goal of tapping the first one and watching it slam against the next, and like a tower they’d all come crashing down. We’d whoop and dance and laugh in triumph of the destruction. We’d plan more elaborate designs to try to make things like marbles fall into bowls…those never panned out.
We designed our patterns with demolition in mind. We manipulated objects so that we not only collapsed the dominoes, but took out anything they touched. The more, the better. The louder the booms, the more ecstatic we became. Each successful scheme led to an even more elaborate one. We continued until we failed. When we failed we became bored. What fun was it if our goals were not accomplished? I don’t recall anyone ever praising or admonishing our efforts. Our childish games went fairly unnoticed by a household far too busy crashing and toppling it’s own life obstacles.
I find the need at times to remind myself that I can be a ripple or a domino. I’m sure I’ve had my moments of being a domino as I have crushed a dream or two in my time, but I prefer to be a wave of comfort and encouragement. I have the power to choose my actions. I hope I don’t take anyone out along my way. As I travel through life I have the ability to be a force to be reckoned with or soft touch on the journey. What kind of an impact do we ultimately want to make on those in our lives? Do you remember those who were loud, demanding and commanding fear as having positively influenced your life? Do you recall those who touched your life in subtle ways as having more of an impact on your life as it is now?