On Sunday night I watched A Very Merry Muppet Christmas on TV. Kermit and his pals realize their dream of having their own theatre only to have it threatened by a scheming landlord who wants to shut them down to open a posh new nightclub. Kermit blames himself for losing the fight to save the theatre, confiding to an angel that he wishes he was never born.
As the story unfolds, we see how the lives of his friends would have been different without Kermit. All of them, without question, would have achieved far less without Kermit as their friend. Through this lesson, the angel teaches Kermit that our actions and words have a greater impact on people than we realize - a good lesson for all of us. This lesson prodded me to think of all the ways in which we influence one another.
The encouragement that we offer to others, our belief in one another's abilities to create change, and our own willingness to take a stand on issues of great importance all have deeper reaching impact than we know. With our words we can foster dreams, ours and those of others. Our simple belief that someone else can achieve a lofty goal can provide a much needed boost to someone who lacks personal confidence. If and how we work on issues such as healthcare, education, poverty, and the environment conveys who we are on a very deep and personal level.
Not only do our actions and words have impact, but our lack of action and the sentiments we do not convey have an impact as well. When a friend or colleague turns to us for help and support, do we stand with them or do we turn away? When someone tells us they don't think they can achieve their dream, do we doubt them or do we encourage them? When something in our community, or in the world at-large, has gone haywire, do we accept the current situation as is or do we decide to change it?
Our answers to these questions also reveal our integrity of character. So often, we think life lessons have to come from books of philosophy or in the classrooms of the Ivy League. My experience yesterday watching the Muppets reminded me that inspiration exists all around us, in every conversation, in every TV viewing, and in everyday experiences. We would be wise and the world would be a better place if we could pay greater attention to the callings and reminders that show up at our door all the time. We never know what pearl of wisdom may fall from the lips of a lovable, unassuming frog.
The photo above is not my own. It can be found here.