On a wind-less day, the lake behind our home is as smooth as glass. Throw a rock in to the lake and you will see an ever-expanding circle of ripples gradually spread across the water. You’ve seen it before. We call it the ripple effect. It happens in many ways and many places. One small action can have an enormous impact. I have one example.

RippleEffectLast school year, a friend of mine, Heather Mazurkiewicz made a comment on Facebook how she was inspired to smile every day by a school crossing guard near her home—all because he waves at every person who drives through the intersection. I knew exactly which crossing guard she was talking about because I drive through that intersection every day on the way to my office. Heather inspired me to stop my car that very day and roll down the window to tell him how inspiring he is to me and others. After driving by and waving back for seven years, I discovered that day this friendly crossing guard had a name—John Haley.

School Crossing2I wrote a blog the next day about Crossing Guard Inspiration and how the world needs more John Haley’s who smile, wave and connect with passers-by. That blog spiked the statistical readership graph upward. Later I gave a printed copy of the blog post to John Haley. He just smiled and embarrassingly told me “thank you.”

A few weeks ago, one of my longtime friends, Ron Hostetler called me from Atlanta to tell me he shared the blog with his longtime friend—a school crossing guard in Chicago. His friend shared the blog with his boss who supervises the Chicago-area crossing guards. This friend’s boss decided to read the story of John Haley as an inspiration to all the school crossing guards under his leadership at their next gathering.

Last week, I stopped my car again and spoke to John and told him about the ripple effect of his life. His faithful wave and smile to students, parents and passing motorists is an inspiration that has rippled the waters all the way from Cape Coral, FL to Chicago, IL. I thanked him for making a difference. And John just shyly smiled and said “thank you.”

And thanks to Heather Mazurkiewicz for her simple post on Facebook that inspired me to stop and talk to John and write a blog about him. The ripple effect is always in action.

What kind of action and attitude will you display today and throughout this week that will ripple out to others near and far?


QUESTION: Do you have a brief story of the ripple effect in action? I’d love to hear it in the comment section below.


2 responses to Ripple Effect

  1. covenantheirs on November 13, 2013 at 10:37 AM Reply

    Thank you, Dennis, for sharing this simple, yet lasting example of loving others through simple acts of kindness. John Haley’s smile is an inspiration to me, and so many others! We never know who may be needing a kind smile, friendly comment, or a genuine listening ear. I’m sure that John really was blessed by you taking the time to say “thank you.” “When we water others, we water ourselves.” — Can’t recall the Scripture reference for this quote, but this is what comes to mind. Blessings to you, in Christ.

  2. John Verburg on November 13, 2013 at 7:29 AM Reply


    A really good commentary today. Thanks.

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