Six Degrees of Helping Others

Last Thursday, I picked my kids up early from school. We had places to go and people to see. Mainly, my mom, but we are lucky enough much more of the family were joining us. I went into the office at the school and told the lady at the front desk, a wonderful woman whom many people depend on, that I needed to get Nate and Jesse out of school. She asked if they had appointments. 

“No. We are going to Florida to see my mom graduate from nursing school,” I said. I had a big smile on my face because I am feeling so happy the front desk lady asked me – I feel excited to tell people about my mom’s success.

Really?” She says in a surprised voice with her eyebrows lifting.

“Yep. At that number in front of a five, my mom is going to be an R.N.” I said.

And do you know what the lady at the front said (and she does not know my spiritual disposition)? She said, “I feel like I am supposed to see you today. I woke up this morning feeling like I want to do something and I asked God, ‘God, what should I do. I think I am too old for school and I don’t know what I can do.’”  

As she said this I got chills and I said, “Well, ask my mom and you will know that it is never too late.”

And front desk lady says, “I think you are right, I just got chills talking to you.”


I said, “I got chills too. That means angels are here talking through us.”

The kids came in and we left, but I kept thinking about the front desk lady and how just mentioning that my mom is graduating from nursing school might have changed her life.

Isn’t it funny how one conversation can lead to one little action? What if she looks up information and decides she might want to be a nurse. She might call a school and decide the schedule is doable and affordable for her. She might even do it – become a nurse. Suddenly, she’s not so old after all.

It’s like six degrees of separation in a way. Six Degrees of Separation is where everyone knows each other by tracing backwards six people and figuring out they know each other through someone else. Which, by the way, since Facebook, Six Degrees has now been lowered to Four Degrees, according to the show Sunday Morning on CBS (love that show).

Maybe if we thought about it, we could trace back six thoughts ago to figure out the person who helped lead to an action we took. Maybe it would be good and maybe it would be bad actions. Who knows. But if we traced back far enough, could we find out who helped shape the major decisions?

In a book called Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell, he says no successful person gets where they are without help in some form. The major Outliers, like Bill Gates, had tons of help, mainly from a parent’s group at his school, where there was a computer lab funded by this group, one of the few existing mainframe computers at the time, then a job offer which put him night and day on computers well ahead of the rest of the world. By the time we might have just be hearing of a computer, he was already well versed in the way they worked inside and out.

A major, major point of Gladwell’s book is that no one gets anywhere without help. The help comes in many forms. A conversation that inspires, a mentor, a kind word, a teacher, a financier, being born in the “right” climate for success, and even just believing what someone says they can do can make a difference.  

I love this. I love that my mom is an inspiration and that doing something for herself helps others do something for themselves and then that helps the next person succeed. I love how each person’s feat builds upon the other. It makes it so much easier to look at someone compassionately and know that I should share with them.

And it turns out, there’s a lady named Cindy. I met her at a party we had to celebrate my mom.  Cindy went back to school and got a new degree at that (more advanced) age. And in meeting Cindy and talking with her about her new occupation, my mom decided she too could follow a dream she has had since she chose her career then looked back and said, “If I had it to do over again I would have been a nurse.”

Now my mom is a R.N. And she may never have made that decision if it wasn’t for Cindy, the Ophthalmologist.

So, today I will follow a dream if something moves me after I learn from someone else. I will listen with an open heart for ideas that motivate me. I will follow that whisper I hear, telling me I am meant for greatness. Because, I am greatness in human form.

And, today I will do something for me and hope that it helps someone else.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s