The Butterfly Effect – Everything Counts

A Life Lessons Story

by Chana Klein

How are we measured in Life? In Heaven?
What counts more?
How you speak to a cashier in the supermarket?
Or how you speak to the head of your child’s yeshiva?

How you take care of a stranger?
Or how you care for your own child?
What if they count equally?

Does it matter what we do?
The effect of one action!
Does it really matter what you do in every little thing?
It’s just one little thing and no one may ever know.
Could allowing another car into my lane on the turnpike affect the world?
Could waking up and saying a morning prayer affect my whole community?

The effect of our smile to a stranger, to our child, to our spouse, to our friend!
The person driving who stops the car to let me cross the street? That kindness makes me teary.

Do we know how far reaching an act of kindness goes,
and equally an act that lacks kindness?

What is the effect of snubbing someone when they greet you, or of not responding to a “Good Shabbos” or to “Hello”?
What about leaving another out, making one feel they don’t belong?
What is the effect of seeing a new face in a place of worship, a place of work, or someplace else, and not greeting them to make them feel welcome?
Every action, significant or insignificant has the potential to change the world.

The Butterfly Effect!
It was originally presented as a scientific paper to The New York Academy of Sciences by Edward Lorenz in 1963.

According to the Butterfly Effect, every little thing we do can have enormous repercussions.

It states, in scientific terms, that when a butterfly flaps its wings, it moves molecules of air. Those molecules move other molecules, which move others, and those eventually have the potential to create great weather changes like a hurricane or a tornado on the other side of the world.

Scientists eventually proved that the same principal works with every form of moving matter including people.

It was designated as a scientific law: The Law of Sensitive Dependence upon Initial Conditions.

Our Torah
It is written that a five year old girl tells her parents that her mother is destined to bear a son who will save Israel. As a result her father remarries her mother and all of Israel does the same.

What Miriam, the sister of Moses, had said to her parents thousands of years ago, still greatly affects our lives today.
What if Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses) had not been born?
How has his birth affected each of us as individuals and as a nation?
His birth affected the secular world as well.

The Butterfly Effect – one action insignificant in our minds has huge consequences.
Everything we do counts.
Everything matters.

One Reach
How many of us reach out to get something without even giving it a thought or even remembering doing so?

The daughter of Pharaoh sees a baby floating in a basket.
Without thinking about who he is, she instinctively reaches out her arm to bring the baby out of the water. She sees he is a Hebrew and names him Moshe.

One reach, one momentary reaction to seeing a baby in a basket in the water.
The result of that one momentary action is that the Jews leave Egypt and enter Israel, the Torah is given.
The values and natural laws for the whole world change.
There are just too many effects of that one stretch of the arm to even imagine.

My Story:
One woman’s response to my cry, one action, one moment in time.
“I can’t!”
I cry to the Physical Therapist who is teaching me to use crutches to walk up steps.
I quickly land on my butt on the glossy, grey hospital step.

She sits down on the step next to me.
She puts her hands on the sides of my face moving my head so that our eyes meet.
“There is no such thing as can’t.” she tells me.
And she repeats, “There is no such thing as can’t.”

For this physical therapist, it is one patient, one moment of a likely busy day.
She might be annoyed at an eleven year old who finds the steps too challenging.

Or she might be feeling pity for me and easily could have told me that I don’t have to do it today.
Instead, she recognizes it is my old belief system that had been based in too many failures for one child.

This is was just one statement, one moment in her life, a moment that this physical therapist may have even forgotten, because that was her way.

She may have forgotten me, the adolescent who said “I can’t!”
Yet, that one moment, that one statement, changes my belief system about what is possible, and thereby changes my life from that moment forward.

It helps me to eventually walk and it helps me much later, as a senior in high school, to figure out how to read.

She is correct.
There is no such thing as can’t.
She says it at just the right moment.

I don’t even remember her name.
But her words, her decision to not let me get by without giving this my greatest effort affects me. It affects me for the rest of my life.

The idea that all things are possible changes my life.
This influences all of the children who have me as their teacher, influences my family, my friends and anyone who ever speaks with me.

All, in some way, get to see that there is no such thing as can’t, just like the PT tells me.

How many people, besides me, are deeply affected and move on to being productive and to having more self-esteem, through that one woman’s statement to me almost 60 years ago:
“There is no such thing as can’t.”

Everything we do and think affects everyone else. What we do and think matters.

The Butterfly Effect: If the butterfly could flap its wings and move molecules and eventually create a hurricane on the other side of the world, then how much more powerful are you and I?
What we do matters.

The effect of every action, significant or insignificant, has the potential to extend to the whole world and to endure for generations.

Everything we do counts.
Everything matters.

Copyright © 2015 Chana Klein

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