I was driving through the I- 75/1-85 connector on my way home from work in typical Atlanta traffic and suddenly the car in front of me slams on their brakes. All I can see are the red brake lights getting closer and closer as I’m braking as hard as I can. I stopped right before I was about to hit the back of the car in front of me and I let out a sigh of relief. The car let off of their brakes and started to drive again. I pulled myself together and continued with even more distance between me and the next car. A few minutes later the same braking ripple effect happened again except I saw the braking start a few cars up and stopped with plenty of room.
As I continued to drive I thought about how life is similar to the ripple effect of braking on the I-75/I-85 connector. One person’s choices or behaviors have a ripple effect and touching the closest people to them including their family, friends, and even community. A parent offering encouragement to their child can result in the ripple effect of the child encouraging their friends and growing up to encourage their child and the effect continues on. No one lives in complete isolation so we all create ripples. Next time you are sitting in traffic or have a quiet moment think about what kind of ripples in life you want to create that could positively or negatively affect your friends, spouse, and children.
Jennifer Wilmoth, LAMFT