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There is something mesmerizing about watching how one tiny pebble can hit the water and can have such a wide-reaching impact, right?

The ripple effect is a powerful concept we share with the students on the journey of generosity in our Generous Classroom.

One tiny pebble of generosity can keep going…and going…and going.

Making Waves

Did you know that the ripple from a pebble tossed in the water 

is actually caused by energy 

being transferred between water molecules?

The energy causes the water molecules to move up and down creating waves.

And even crazier –  the shape of the ripples actually echoes

the shape of the object that was thrown into the water.

A straight stick plopped in a puddle causes straight ripples.

A round pebble thrown in a lake causes round ripples.

Here at ILG, we like to think that a tiny pebble of generosity creates generosity-shaped ripples.

Ripples of hope.

Ripples of help.

Ripples of friendship.

But sometimes when you are living generously, you may not realize who those waves of joy are reaching

Or how many people your generosity can actually touch.

Just ask Agnes

Meet Agnes – A Wave Maker

When Agnes was little, she learned about generosity from her mom.

Her dad passed away when she was 8, but her mom still felt that it was important to share what they had with others.

She would often invite those who were poor over for dinner.

When Agnes asked why she did that, her mom said, 

“Some of them are our relations but all of them are our people.” 

Agnes followed her lead.

She started making her own waves while she was a tween. 

At the age of 12, she committed her life to helping others.

She left home at 16, determined to become a missionary. 

She trained in Ireland and eventually moved to India to be a school principal.

Life wasn’t easy for Agnes. 

But her passion for sharing her life with others kept moving her forward

At the age of 33, Agnes took her generosity a step further. 

She felt called to help those who couldn’t help themselves. 

She dedicated her life to caring for the unloved – 

those dying in the streets of Calcutta.

She launched the Missionaries of Charity with a few dedicated members.

That small crew of women began to care for folks with only moments left to live, 

giving them a bed to sleep in, 

words of love and comfort to soothe them, 

and nourishment for body and spirit in their last moments.

Agnes never looked back.

Over the next 5 decades, Agnes aka Mother Teresa, caused even more waves. 

The Missionaries of Charity opened schools, orphanages, hospitals, hospices, homes for unwed moms, centers for AIDS, and leper homes. 

By the time she passed away at the age of 87, her small band of generosity warriors had grown to 4,000 members.

Ripple upon ripple.

Wave upon wave.

Her mom’s generous lesson had taken: 

Agnes spent her life generously –

taking care of her people.

Generosity and You

You may be thinking, hey, I’m no Mother Teresa. I don’t live anywhere near India.

That’s okay. Me either.

But the amazing thing is that no matter where we live, we can toss that generosity pebble into the lake of life.

We can take care of our people.

We can see those molecules of goodness bounce off each other.

When we get generous, we can watch the ripple effect in the lives of those around us.

Wave after wave.

Ripple after ripple.

Just like Agnes.

I think we should do it, don’t you?


Susanna Aughtmon is a gifted writer, wonderful wife, mother, daughter and friend, and a valued member of the I Like Giving team.