For five whole seasons, My Little Pony has consistently celebrated the small things. It’s a subject I have written about rather extensively in other articles, but suffice it to simply say that it’s a core part of the show.
Between Amending Fences, and The Cutie Re-Mark (1 and 2), they took this message to a new level this season, and unflinchingly illustrated how a seemingly small event can change the world for the better, or for the worse. Twilight, through casual thoughtlessness, sent Moondancer down a negative path. Sunburst did the same to Starlight Glimmer. Conversely, Rainbow Dash, by performing her rainboom, set history in motion, and brought the Mane Six together, (which ultimately led to the preservation of peace and friendship in all of Equestria).
Seemingly minor deeds – our cruelties, and our kindnesses – have far-reaching consequences. It’s more than just a really cool premise for a finale – it’s the truth. It’s a message the world needs to hear.
In real life, the little things go unnoticed all too often. That extra five wing-power that our struggles add to the hurricane effort? They are seldom celebrated, but the little things do make a difference, not just in Equestria, but in the here and now.
Every year, I re-tell a certain story about random acts of kindness. It is especially relevant this December because of the message of the recent finale.
About ten years ago, my kids were a lot younger and needier, and I had to keep them occupied in the city while my wife took care of some important business. We found ourselves at an overpriced Manehattan pizza shop and I was in the rather unfortunate position of having to tell my daughter that I couldn’t get her the type of pizza that she wanted because it was simply too expensive. When I went to collect the slice, I found that it was not what I had ordered, but rather, what my daughter had actually wanted. At first, I thought the pizza guy was trying to get me to buy the more expensive slice, but he soon explained that it had already been paid for.
I only saw his back as he stepped out the door, and I never got to thank him, but a total stranger had overheard my conversation and had quietly picked up the bill.
I had an epiphany in that moment. There are millions of quiet gestures like that that people do every day without recognition, or expectation of it. From then on, whenever I felt down about the state of the human race, I remembered that small act of kindness. I thought of how somebody had brought a smile to my daughter’s face that he never even got to see.
I’m willing to bet that he, like so many of us, probably sometimes feels that it’s impossible to make a real difference in the world. How could he possibly know that a $5 slice of pizza helped me turn my life around, and start actively getting out there and practicing random acts of kindness myself?
How could Pinkie Pie have known that her childhood antics would inspire some pony else to pursue a life of party-planning – to dedicate themselves to spreading joy and good cheer?
Our lives are a vast interconnected web of near infinite complexity. Our actions touch others whom we will never even meet. An unkind word leads to someone lashing out through road rage, which irritates other drivers, etc., etc. A gift of a five dollar slice of pizza changes a life.
We are all connected, and friendship really is magic because our friendships are where we feel those connections the strongest. You can look at the finale as a series of what-if vignettes exploring how things might have been different if six of the most important ponies in Equestria had never met. But it’s more than that. It’s not just about the six most important ponies in all the land. It’s about how one friendship can make a difference.
It’s about all of us. It’s about a thoughtless little kid named Sunburst who got swept up in his new life, and made an innocent mistake that almost destroyed the entire world.
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