- Written by Aradhita Saraf
The only thing that perturbed me about going and playing in the garden at my grandparents’ house, were the insects. As a child of merely seven who grew up in a city, lived in a flat, and went to a school which only allowed 45 minutes of garden recess, I would yearn for evenings spent running around my grandparents’ sprawling bungalow. However, I would also return home throwing a fit about the scratchy ant and mosquito bites in the shape of small red bumps all over my arms and legs.
One of these evenings, as I was playing frisbee with my younger brother, I ducked suddenly to avoid a bee whizzing past me and instead hit my head against the plastic frisbee disk. Angry about losing a point due to a “stupid bee,” I stomped off to my grandfather and suggested inventing a trap that killed all the bees of the world. I distinctly remember him grinning at my childish ignorance and sitting me down to tell me why I should take back my words immediately.
"We owe this beautiful garden to the bees," he said. "They carry pollen from flowers and transfer them to other parts of the garden, thus planting seeds for the birth of new flowers and trees. Without them, the birds wouldn’t have trees to build their nests in, the flowers you enjoy sniffing at wouldn’t exist nor would the honey you sweeten your milk with. Lastly, without the bees, this garden wouldn’t be as big and beautiful to play around in. Every living being, big or small, impacts their environment, as do you."
I realize today, eighteen years later, that the bee had played yet another big role that day - it had taught me a life-lesson: we must always appreciate each other’s existence and know how we affect our surroundings. We live in an ecosystem where all our actions have equal and opposite reactions. And so, we should strive to find a deeper meaning in our own actions - one that goes beyond just completing the task for the day. One that helps our environment grow into a place better than we found it.
The following are some ways in which you can make an impact today:-
As a Student
We often forget that grades are not the destination, but merely a means to the end. The end goal is intellectual growth towards realizing and fulfilling our passions. Instead of merely studying to ace our examinations, we can read, understand and learn about the world to know what piques our curiosity and interest. Could we use this knowledge and understanding to solve a world problem?
For instance, instead of plugging in formulas to solve a math problem, if we would self-derive the formulas and understand their roots, we could be aerospace mathematicians who calculate rocket speeds and the time it requires to land on Mars. Similarly instead of mugging up the chapter on Weather Systems in our Geography book, we could understand the real cause behind the formation of high and low pressure belts - information that is used to predict cyclones and save the lives of thousands of people.
School studies and grades should merely be a catalyst towards our larger goals of making an impact, inventing, creating, developing and leading!
As a Professional
Many of us slog all day only for a paycheck at the end of the month. However, in doing so, we are not maximising the impact we can create in the world. It is important to ask ourselves if we are working on something that pushes us towards our own personal growth while also contributing towards improvement at a societal, national or global level.
For instance, a successful teacher isn't one who finishes teaching his/her syllabus in time, but one who makes their students look forward to class next day, leaves them with some knowledge they otherwise would not have learnt from their textbooks, and raises a moral and intelligent batch of future adults.
At a Personal level
As a young teenager, our focus lies entirely on ourselves. Very rarely are we concerned about the well-being of our family members, forget our neighbours. However, as we grow older, we increase our circle of kindness, until it stagnates again.
Making food, cleaning up and raising a family while also working is a herculean task - one that is extremely rewarding. However, our personal responsibilities do not stop there. We must push ourselves to create a greater impact by extending hands of help to our neighbors, locality, society, city, nation and eventually the world and beyond. There is no limit to personal growth.
Teaching a house helper’s child how to use a computer may change their family’s lives forever, planting a fruit tree in the local park may feed the society for generations to come, setting up a compost pit in your backyard will reduce the methane levels in the air, making it a tad bit easier to breathe.
Remember, every drop makes an ocean, and we, like bees, have many places to visit and many gardens to build.