Small Things Add Up

by Christy Gualtieri

Even the largest avalanche is triggered by small things.”  – Vernor Vinge

Unsplash Photo By Jordan Whitt

My son’s not quite yet into superheroes, but he’s getting there.  He loves the capes, anyway.  And although I’m not much good at crafting, I decided one afternoon to make a cape for him to pretend-fly around the house in, hopefully leading his baby sister out of the kitchen to follow him so I can be left alone to make dinner.

I looked up instructions, trying not to look at perfect Pinterest-worthy styles, opting for the least amount of effort (since I’m no good at it, after all), and came across a really heartwarming story about a bunch of similar capes that were made for the elementary and middle school children who had survived the school shooting in Newtown, CT, in 2012.  The folks behind the Capes For Kids initiative had decided that those children had seen far too many horrible things, and hoped that wearing capes would empower them to feel as though they could become stronger than what they’d seen.

It was a small gesture, but I’m sure it was incredibly meaningful.  And I got to thinking about how much the little things we do add up to things so much bigger than we are.  When we do small, seemingly insignificant things during the day to help build up our homes and our communities, it  can make a difference in a person’s life – a difference we might not understand even in our own lifetimes.

As predicted, the cape I made my son didn’t come out too well.  I mismeasured the neck, so it had too wide an opening (resembling a shawl someone might wear to the opera), the stars and crescent moon I’d cut out as a decoration looked like a velociraptor’s claw, and the velcro enclosures I’d hot glued came apart after about twenty minutes of playing.

But the thing was, that gesture helped me more than it did him.  Sure, he got a bit of fun out of it, but the difficulty I came across in trying to make it (shopping for the supplies, having to measure everything – having him hold still while I measured everything) helped me to step outside of my comfort zone and put aside my more selfish feelings of trying to find the easy way out (Amazon, anyone?).

It was a small thing, but it made a difference in how I see myself, as someone who can at least try to make a cape, inept at them as I am.  I hope one day my son will appreciate the little things his family does for him, is encouraged by that, and then goes on to make his own impact in the world.

What are some ways you’ve made a positive impact in your lives and the lives of those around you? What are some ways you can try to make an effort in that this week?

Until next time, be well!

Christy GualtieriChristy Gualtieri is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture, religion, and motherhood. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and son, blogs at, and tweets @agapeflower117. Follow PghPsych on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates, inspirational quotes, articles, and different events and causes related to good mental health!