Monday, November 28, 2005

influence

I've been thinking about influence lately. I've been thinking of mine. The kind I have with others I mean. It's a natural part of my calling and profession. Without influence, I'd have no job. I'd be considered a miserable failure. At the moment I'm just miserable. I'm not liking that I have influence. It's hard to grasp the idea that decisions I make and feelings that I have can shape large parts of the existing world. That may sound like arrogance. It's really not. It's ripples. All people form ripples everyday with practically every action that they make. Mine are maybe just more widespread than the average guy because I, by nature, have a bigger circle that I interact with. I have a larger audience than most. I actually get paid to say something worth listening to. Listening hopefully transforms into doing and then the ripples get bigger. It's ironic that I get paid to have people listen to me. When my family gets the chance to do it for free there's much less listening going on. But I have to admit, some of my biggest influence is my role as a parent. Each of my interactions with my children can have an incredible reach into the future. Really, if you think about it, each parent has the ability to shape the history of mankind. I wonder if Suddam Hussein's parents knew that. Did Abraham Lincoln's parents model the lifestyle that has resounded through our history? Being a parent is perhaps the greatest responsibilty that could be bestowed on us as human creation. Unfortunately, I've seen so many instances in my profession where this has been completely disregarded. I know that I haven't always considered day to day how my actions, thoughts, and attitudes might manifest themselves in history in the life of my children. I don't always understand the power that I wield. Sometimes I do. Right now as I sit in the glow of our Christmas lights with the manger scene before me, I am thankful for Mary and Joseph. They are perhaps themost influential parents of all time. Whatever your beliefs and faith are, you must admit that Jesus is arguably the most influential individual throughout history. His life has influenced a significant percentage of mankind for the past 2000 years and the anticipation of his arrival for that many years before that. I know Heis God's son and all. I know in fact that He's God himself. Don't ask me to explain it. But the reality is that it was His earthly life that has directed the hearts and minds of billions. That earthly life was influenced by a set of earthly parents. How would you like to be Joseph...knowing that it was your job to discipline the son of God? Actually to discipline God for that matter. Always looking over your shoulder as you were about to spank Jesus or firmly tell Him no. No thanks! I have enought trouble with that job when no one is looking. Anyway, I often wonder at this time of year if they really realized the scope of their influence. Did they really understand? I know that Mary often "pondered these things in her heart", whatever that means. Did it make them more attentive? Were they more purposeful as parents? Did they see a goal? As someone who works with so many parents, my hope is that we could all look to them this year in a differnt light and understand that even though we may not be raising the Savior of mankind, we may be raising someone who could talk about Him to someone who desperately needs it. And in my book, that's the next best thing. Merry Christmas!

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