The Ripple Effect

I heard years ago of a national study that showed on average, people share a piece of bad news eleven times, but they share good news only four times. In other words, people tell others almost four times more about a faulty product, poor service or failed expectations than they do about receiving a kindness, having a good day, or getting a gift out of the blue. I’ve made it a personal goal to reverse those percentages.

There is an amazing ripple effect to whatever we say, write or do. For example, a writer friend of mine interviewed some public-school students about an engaging unit their teacher had with them studying insects. So she wrote an article about it. By wonderful coincidence, the teacher saw her article. My friend found out later the teacher had been considering retiring – but when she saw how her students appreciated her creative teaching, she took heart and decided to continue teaching.

In the last few years I’ve heard about the field of Positive Psychology. It is the scientific study of how being grateful, thanking others, and saying a good word benefits the one who says thanks and passes on good news, as well as the recipient of it. We’ve heard this message through religious channels for a long time, but now researchers are proving it, based upon sociological data and physical effects on the brain. As Christians, we know what’s most important is not fundamentally about the giver’s benefits from giving – it’s the positive ripple effect that can transform the lives of both givers and receivers, and ultimately transform the world.

Your partner in ministry,

Betsy Schwarzentraub