You probably don’t think you’re half as powerful as you truly are.
You think “I’m only one person.” True, but Lieutenant Dan change Forrest Gump’s mind, and he was only half a person. So, just imagine what you could do.
You should know about Jaak Panksepp. He found that if you separated a baby rat from its mother while still giving it all the nutrients it needed to survive, it would die slowly, and painfully. Until one day, he tickled one of them with the eraser tip of a pencil. The rat responded. It turns out that rats giggle when you tickle them. Now, rats laugh hypersonically, so you’d have to slow down the audio to hear them. But they love it, they just eat it up. They jump around in silly ways and follow the eraser tip to get more of it.
The rats he tickled began to thrive again. The eraser was close enough to the touch of their mother or another rat, and that stimulated them to endure. They grew, and became adults, and played and produced offspring.
That’s the most incredible scientific discovery I think about. Because Jaak didn’t prove rats need food and water. We know they’ll eventually need them. He proved that rats cannot survive without love. They will not make it without care.
And the world exploded into a transition from psychiatrists smoking a cigarette and asking about your mother, into psychological and emotional needs becoming recognized as an unrefutable pillar of healthcare.
And all one person had to do was tickle a rat with an eraser.
This brings me to you.
If you’re part of a community that shows care, greets everyone with a smile by name when they walk in the door, or that asks someone who seems down, how they’re holding up more than once in the same day, you hold a lot of power.
Your care, or kindness, or even guidance can end generations of low self-esteem that has plagued a family. Or the reliance on substances or abuse of food. Or generational child abuse. That person you encourage to do hard workouts or keep up the new healthy routine, or invite out to your next social hang out, could be the end of the line for all of that. The pathology and dysfunction stops with them.
And with you.
Maybe we cant escape the touch of the things that make life unjustly hard. But we could free others from it after us.
And you may have thought I’m only one person.
One is more than enough.