“Act as if you are people of consequence.” Stephen Jenkenson
Reading this morning I find myself reflecting on what it means to be a person of consequence. At first glance it seems to mean making a difference in the world. I think that it does, in fact, but my reflection is that this is both a positive and negative reality.
If one throws a rock into a pool, the rings that go out upon the water are consequences of the rock hitting the water. Whenever we do something there are consequences that go out from us. Some we are aware of, most not. I am washing dishes. Consequence – the dishes are getting clean. I know this. But my hands are getting clean and softened as well. My grandchild sitting at the counter is learning as I move about the kitchen that cleaning kitchens is about life. I breathe in and I am changed by the oxygen. I exhale and the air is changed and my granddaughter breathes a little of that when she breathes in. If I am humming a happy tune, it lifts her mood a little. Or it irritates her because it is an old song unlike the ones she is used to. Something is always happening. I am a person of consequence.
Grandpa walks into the room and I yell at him for failing leaving his tools all over the counter. “You never put your tools away when you are done and I don’t even have space to cook.” Grandpa responds, “Like you never leave your stuff around! The laundry is scattered all over the floor. I can’t even get to the back door without tripping.” My grandchild listens. She is uncomfortable. She is learning about how to communicate. She is learning about blaming others. She is learning about respect.
When she grows up, my granddaughter will do dishes. If her child is there, she probably will allow her to not help because that is what women do – they bear the burden of the house alone. She learned this while observing important women in her life. If her family members leave their stuff around, she might yell at them because their stuff is a personal affront to her. It shows lack of respect and her self-respect depends upon other people’s behavior, not on her own love for herself.
I am a person of consequence.