Some years ago, while I was in college, several of my friends benefited directly
from a professor who taught them by example. Sister Mary Consuela, IHM, used to
tell her students at Immaculata, "I throw the pebbles girls, and you have to
make the ripples." She instructed them to take what they had learned and share
it, again and again and again. Little did Sister Mary realize, that she had over
time, turned us all in to pebbles-making-ripples. I can tell you this since not
only have I seen ripples, but have seen them interconnect and return anew!!
This particular "pebble" was thrown two years ago, when I read a beautiful story by Azriela Jaffe; it was published online and was called "Locks of Love." It chronicled her son's third birthday "haircut" and his sisters' decisions about their having haircuts as well -- to donate it to "Locks of Love". This organization makes and provides wigs to financially disadvantaged kids who have medical hair loss. At the time, her daughters Sarah and Elana (then 6 & 5 respectively) had decided on their own to have their haircuts, even after they'd heard they would end up with short hair to meet the 10 inch minimum donation length.
Inspired by the little girls' generosity, I wrote to their Mom to congratulate her on their selflessness and love for others and to tell her that she is doing a great job. She and her husband had given their daughters some invaluable gifts - intangible ones they needed to give away what most little girls (and big girls) value most: their hair! (a ripple)
This story really touched me for many reasons. You see, I had been a sick child and anyone who's kind to sick children, I think, earns a lot of points in heaven…not to mention from the sick children for we never forget your kindnesses. Also, it really touched me because at the time, one of my dear friends was getting chemo for her breast cancer and for Jean, like so many other patients, it was very tough losing her hair. Because of this I copied and pasted the Azriela's story, another pebble, into an e-mail for many of my friends to read. (ripples…) Several had written and phoned me to comment about this beautiful gesture and how impressed they were, especially since the "givers" were 6 and 5 years old! (more ripples…)
Meanwhile, "Locks of Love" author, Azriela Jaffe, contacted me about a grassroots letter campaign my friend Jean and I had begun: "Turning the Whisper into a Roar". This is an ongoing and active letter writing campaign to the President asking for more funding for breast cancer research. Azriela's version our the story put a business spin on it: Former competitors join forces to save lives. It was a pebble that resulted in great publicity for us in about 7 syndicated newspapers in NY, NJ and PA. (more ripples).
Tonight, a dear friend, my comadre, told me about my 13 year old Goddaughter, Iraisa Ann. Her daughter has decided as part of her 8th grade Graduation from St. Nicholas school, to get a haircut, a short haircut and give about 15+ inches of her hair that she's been growing since Kindergarten to "Locks of Love." This seems to be a great ripple and yet a pebble as well.
Sister Mary would be so very proud because Iraisa (her Mom -- my comadre) was one of her students at Immaculata and one of those same girls who so often have reminded me that we are always "throwing pebbles and making ripples." Here we are, more than 20 years and another generation later- we are sometimes unknowingly throwing pebbles. So I suppose what Sister Mary would want us to remember is this -- we never know whom the ripples will touch or how far or long they may go, so make every pebble we toss meaningful and good!
Thank you Sister Mary Consuela, for your life lessons in "pebble throwing" and thank you too, to little Sarah and Elana Jaffe, for without you, and your Mom who shared your generous spirit with us through her writing, and of course, Iraisa Ann, we would have no story ... and no ripples of love to share and once again toss another pebble into the waiting pond of life.
Copyright 2003 Jeannie Paslawsky PaslawskyJ@aol.com
Jeannie Paslawsky grew up in Tamaqua and now resides in Willow Grove, PA. I have been in business for more than 15 years as a Telecom Consultant and Trainer. Many folks ask how can a former English teacher do that? I was an English major -- we can "do anything." My greatest joy is the people in my life- I have a great many cousins and wonderful family and dear friends and MANY "nieces and nephews" who fill my daily life. I am also very active in Breast Cancer awareness because women need to be AND of so many of my friends who have it and 1-8 of all the women I know will have it sometime in our lifetime.
Let's ROAR!!! Jeannie P. Jean M. Paslawsky Independent Telecom Consultant Willow Grove PA Ph: 215.657.5187 Fax: 215.659.4587
- Roaring for a Cure - My Avocation for my friend J Walsh~ Please click here: http://www.arborontheweb.com/roar two million women have breast cancer right now. Half of them--mothers, sisters, daughters and friends--don't even know they have it. Nearly 45,000 will die this year.
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