A Ripple Effect

The e-mail hit my Inbox like many others … “I’ve changed my e-mail address. Going forward, please use this new address.”

I know this is nothing unique. We’ve all received messages like this--probably dozens of times. Thinking nothing of it, I noted the new address and moved on.

An hour or so later, I checked e-mail again and found the same message from the same person (my wife), three more times. Mindlessly, I deleted the repetitive messages and moved on.

Later, I received a fifth message. Not sure what was going on, I read it.

“I’ve changed my e-mail address. Going forward, please use my new address. Oh, by the way, if you’re getting this message multiple times, it’s a sign of how many times our lives interact--kind of an interesting study.”

When I got home, I asked my wife about her notification process. She said she simply replied to everybody listed on the e-mails she actually reads or cares about in the vain attempt to keep her new address hidden from spammers.

It’s a great approach – but I was more curious about the overlap in her messages. How many times were people actually receiving her message? Was it a sign of how important they were in her life? Where did I rank?

The study is a work in progress (I’m still in the Top 10), but the message is clear--nobody is an island. We all have a vast network of friends, family, associates and acquaintances that help define who we are and what we stand for. In all reality, the network is probably much, much larger than we even know.

This idea is one that drives PRB.

Each month, folks you may not personally know take the time to share their ideas with you. And, when those ideas take hold in an agency or a department, I like to think that the PRB network grows a little bit stronger and the society we live in is a little bit better.

This month, we’ve focused those ideas on playgrounds. Inside, you can learn how to use sculptures to create a new kind of park, how to create an all-inclusive, nature-based playground, how inner-city parks are providing recreational opportunities for all, how to use irrigation to create an appreciation for water and much, much more.

All of these good stories and my wife’s impromptu e-mail study inspired me to get into the act. Although I’m a failed vegetable gardener, I’ve teamed up with my nine-year-old daughter to see if we can execute the garden plan laid out by Mel Bartholomew in his book All New Square Foot Gardening. Our boxes are built. The next step is to plant at the appropriate time and pray. I’ll keep you posted on our progress via our Web site. If you want a quickie “green” program for your agency, grab the book and get started.


Rodney J. Auth