A New Ripple
And a Purposeful Life

There I was in Ben Ballou’s office. He works for Hodges & Davis, which is a law firm located in Merrillville, IN. Ben is my attorney, and he addressed several of my concerns regarding my will. The primary issue related to my family in Myanmar. The military government has restrictions on wire transfers from outside of that country.

Ben had heard much of the story about my family that I met almost a decade ago. He knew that I went to Myanmar in the hope of interviewing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, often called the Lady. While I failed to contact her, I met a young lady, Ti Ti, who wanted to play Scrabble with me. Moh Moh was my tour guide near Inle Lake. She had to pick up my itinerary at her home after I left Inle Lake. Ti Ti was home on winter break, and we played Scrabble for forty-five minutes, much of which was spent laughing and giggling. We went to a preschool where her two younger children attended and met Ko Ko, her husband.

Ben understood that Ti Ti was the bridge that united my family in the States and my family in Myanmar. A couple of years later, I returned to visit my family. On that trip, Ko Ko was my tour guide. Two years ago, our family went on our first family tour.

Ben had heard much of my family’s story while working on my first will and this new one. He dealt with all my concerns, which were addressed in the new will. I thanked him, signed all the documents, and returned home…relieved.

Several weeks later, I received his bill. It itemized everything, but there was an item marked discounted. Ben had discounted a part of what I owed him. I wrote a check and an accompanying note that said, “Thank you.”

Why did Ben do that? I think that he was following Bobby Kennedy’s admonition about having a purposeful life. Kennedy wrote, “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” Kennedy wanted us to make our world a better place than how we found it. None of us will change the world, but each of us needs to create the ripple effect. This is Kennedy’s ripple effect statement. “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Ben created a new ripple….

Bobby wanted each of us to contribute to the ripple effect in life. That is what a purposeful life would do. This would be your assignment if I were teaching a history class this semester and you were in the class. I want you to write down what you consider the five purposes for your life. What are your goals in the time that you have?

Take a piece of paper and jot down five things that you wish to accomplish. It is important that you follow my lesson plan. Stop reading this article and take two minutes to jot down the five goals that you wish to accomplish in your life?

Now, you will evaluate and grade your assignment. This is the grading criteria. Who will be the primary beneficiary of your purposeful life? You or others? Bobby’s contention about a purposeful life is based upon helping others rather than helping ourselves.