Polymers

One of the demonstrations that my kids really enjoy is pictured above.  It’s very simple – a 50-foot length of beads is coiled inside of a container.  One end of the chain is allowed to fall over the side of the container and as it falls it pulls on the rest of the chain.  It doesn’t sound very impressive, but the cool part is the speed at which the beads are pulled over the side.  They end up falling so quickly that the chain hovers above the rim of the container as it zooms over the side.

The other day as my wife and I were talking about our kids.  Our oldest is 10 and it’s mid-boggling to think that in 8 years she’ll be off to college.  A few years later she could be married and a few years after that she could have kids of her own.  As we talked we couldn’t believe how fast time has gone by.  We were both worried that we have been doing enough, if we’ve been the kind of parents we needed to be, if we’re successfully teaching our kids the things that they need to know in order to be happy.

I’m sure these are the same worries that parents everywhere have.  But it makes me think of the polymer demo – we try so hard to teach our children that actions are linked.  Each tiny act we do leads to another act and another.  Sometimes this is good and sometimes it’s bad.  The difficult thing to remember is that once you start building momentum it can be very difficult to stop.  As we strive to keep the commandments and do all the small daily actions that often seem inconsequential, we build the momentum to keep going on the same path.  But if we start to slacken our efforts and give in to laziness and apathy, this also builds momentum and unless we change we’ll find ourselves flying down the wrong path.