Most of the time, we are fully cognizant of our actions, the people who are associated with those actions and the consequences that ensue. Life seems to be a pattern of A, B, C, D and E.

What I’ve discovered, however, is that we can’t always measure the size or type of impact that we have had on others. While this reality is often positive, the possibility always exists that something casually or randomly said or done can have residual negative effects.

Every so often, I hear from my students about other teachers whom they have experienced. They make comments such as, “She said I was stupid” or “She grabbed me by the neck and hurt me.” Will this child recall acts or statements of cruelty when he or she is 30 or 50? It really doesn’t matter because the recollections are present now.

On the plus side, I frequently receive emails from people for whom I’ve written in the recent or distant past. They say that I did a terrific job, they will never forget my timeliness and empathy or something along those lines. Every time I receive one of these compliments, I am enriched. While I have defined my life with compassion and consideration for the priorities of others, it’s always gratifying to be remembered for those traits.

As always, I offer a lesson to be learned. We don’t need to measure every statement to all those we encounter but we must be responsible for everything that we say. Likewise, committing actions that appear to be minor or forgettable may not be so to the others who are affected.

My best guess is that we have all made hundreds of impressions on others that we will never realize. Because I believe that to be true, it’s advisable to be judicious about those messages, with the hope that they are beneficial and not hurtful. Shalom.

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