When we walk out our driveway and turn right on the sidewalk, we pass over a small stream. The other day we noticed an addition. Someone had affixed a pair of googly eyes to the rail.
I love to people watch. But I have to remember, it works in reverse, too. No matter where we go or what we do, a good portion of the time we’re being watched.
In my first book, Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth, I wrote, “Never underestimate the influence you have on others.” As a grandma-in-waiting (will September never get here?!) I’m aware that a little pair of eyes will be on me; my granddaughter will be in my sphere of influence.
Who do you influence?
A really good question Laurie.
I don’t know.
I attempt to behave in ways that will be a “good influence” on others (where I define good influence as increasing the probability of individual survival, increasing the opportunities for individual liberty, and increasing the probability of responsible action – where responsibility involves reasonable considerations of the impacts of our actions across time and space in our physical, biological and cultural contexts).
All I can do is my best guess in the moment.
How much influence it has is irrelevant in a sense; and I am extremely confident that the more people who adopt a similar approach, the better off we will all be.
Ted — Well I can tell you one thing for sure, YOU’VE had a positive influence on ME 🙂
“Never underestimate the influence you have on others.” This is so important, especially as a grandparent. But also in life in general. The other day I noticed on LinkedIn a former employee of mine got a great new job so I sent him a congratulations message. He answered by saying “Thank you, the best career advice I have ever received is from you, and I will humbly always keep you in my journey as part of the wisdom gained.” So you never know how far your words go.
Darlene — WOW! That’s an incredible compliment! Kudos to YOU! 🙂
It was and so kind of him to acknowledge me that way. Another reason he has done well, he knows how to say Thank you.
These days Big Brother is watching you, especially if you use Google: I look for something in Amazon and then it appears on my FB page too and Google Maps knows exactly where I am all the time. Good job I am not trying to hide!!!
My birthday is in September, so I will celebrate for your granddaughter’s birth too. It is almost round the corner! 😉
Fatima — I know exactly what you mean about Big Brother. The same Amazon thing happens to me. All of a sudden I mysteriously see in my Facebook feed what I was looking at on Amazon.
Ohhhhh, Luna Bleue is good to be in great birthday company with you in Spetember 🙂
Luna Bleue: what a beautiful name! And blue happens to be my favourite colour. Can’t wait to see her. 💖
Fatima — I love her name too. They got “Luna” from the Newberry award-winning book, “The Girl Who Drank the Moon.” The girl in the book is “Luna.” And even though she’s afraid of certain challenges that come her way, she moves forward; she’s courageous 🙂
I haven’t read the book. Another title for my Kindle, then. 👍
Fatima — You will LOVE the book. Guaranteed! 🙂
Ohhh, may we all influence people for the better. I love to just “be,” – be myself, be kind, be loving, be compassionate, be bright, be engaged. Within my “be-ness” I do hope I influence others to just “Be” also. Over the years, I’ve received many thanks from my creative writing students, who think I’M the one who has helped them find themselves through their writing. But I always laugh and say, “But YOU’RE the one who decided to be brave enough to attend a creative writing class, to let go and be vulnerable, and to write your heart out for the world.” May I always “BE” enough to help others find their own BEING. ❤
Pam — Cheers to BEing! 🙂
Grandmas rock in their influence! I did a column a few years back about our pastor asking the congregation to share (in worship) their most influential person and then a techie immediately put those results into a Wordle. It was a great exercise. You may be interested in reading my resulting column (on a Spanish sister site to the Third Way website I help curate, but this article is in English of course): http://www.menonitas.net/menonitas/?Page=7851%7CThe+Importance+of+Grandmothers
Melodie — Oh my gosh, how darned COOL is that?! Thank you for sharing the link 🙂
I like to think Henry Adams was right. If so, I can’t really answer this question. 🙂 “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”
Shirley — I love this quote; it perfectly depicts the ripple effect. Thank you! 🙂
In other news, there was a blogger who was an eyeball sniper. She used to stick those all over the place and post them on her site. Some of them were pretty funny and creative.
Craig — Oh how FUN! 🙂
I know for sure that I’ve influenced my two Little Brothers, and by extension, their immediate families. That’s incredibly rewarding. Other than that, I can’t know for sure. I presume that I go through life somewhat anonymously (as anonymously as an author-publisher can be in this day, I suppose) and that no one pays me much attention, but I always try to interact with all people in a way that gives them some sort of positive lift from their experience with me.
Chris — I know that your work with Big Brothers Big Sisters is incredibly rewarding to you. Likewise, I know it’s rewarding for the people you brother 🙂
Grandmas are a blessing and their influence would last longer than they think. Be patient Laurie, you are almost there! Those little eyes would be your world now, watching you for eternal love. 🙂
Balroop — Your kind words just brought happy tears to my eyes.
I, too am a writer – of many years and also teach writing. So, then and in the writing critique group I run I try to help other writers to find their writing voice, motivate them to write, and try not to be negative here. When we writers have experience in our writing and especially if we are published, we have to remember that when we were starting out with our writing, experienced writers helped us (well, most did). So, we need to do the same – maybe a branch of what goes around comes around.
Sharon — I love the example you used in your comment. Thank you!
Sunday morning a Facebook friend I’ve never met saw me leaving the pre-school department, but I didn’t see her. She would like to get to know me better but she admitted to wanting to show me skincare products, so I’m a little wary.
The googly eyes are a clever prompt. Matthew 10: 29 reminds me that not one of them [sparrows} will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care, his all-seeing eyes.
Now to your question: The people I’m most intentional about influencing are my grands.The influence works in reverse too. You are already influencing that wee one, who hears the tone of your voice and already is absorbing the love . . . !
Marian — Your comment about grandchildren made me think of this cute story my friend, Lisa K., shared with me when I was in Illinois this weekend.
Lisa was teaching her almost 5-year-old granddaughter the word “spontaneous” and explained to her exactly what it means. The next time they got together, her granddaughter said, “Grandma, should we be spontaneous and go get some ice cream?”
The precious eyes of my nieces and nephews and now great nieces and nephews (young children and many young adults) may or may not be upon me. However, I do want to walk in the world as if they are. I hope they see a woman of conviction, who acts in alignment with her beliefs and values.
I hope too that my coaching clients see that I practice what I preach. That is my intention. That is the way I live (with human flaws also present). I am not there to influence them. I am there to partner with them on their developmental and/or transformational journey. Once in a while, I get a letter, long after a client engagement, as I have this month, from a client (or friend) saying that I was critical and valued in some way in their change. This month, for the first time in my entire career, a client wrote that I saved her life (there were extraordinary circumstances and coaching went well beyond the standard way).
Audrey — Oh my goodness, the life saving letter, especially, must have made your heart soar!
P.S. I for one know that you are a woman of conviction, who acts in alignment with her beliefs and values.
People share really personal things with me via messages and email at times because of the writing I’ve been doing. At times, it’s overwhelming. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens often enough that I know I am influencing others by the responses I receive. It’s like with teaching. Most students never articulate that impact you have on them, but the ones who do, are speaking for the others who will never take the time to note such a thing in speaking or writing. So it is so true that we should never underestimate the influence we have on others. I’m just trying to be me 😉
Jeri — Your “resiliency” posts were raw and courageous. I applaud you for your transparency. It’s no wonder you’ve received correspondence from people sharing their experiences with you. They know you’ll understand because you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.
Good question. I have no idea who I influence. People will say they are touched or moved or intrigued by my writing or behavior or words, so perhaps they are. What interests me right now is the thought of how deep an influence can go. Can it go so deep that it provides energy or possibility to change behavior in a desirable way? Or does the influence stay on the surface, as a nice and calming and inspiring thought? I suppose influence will go as shallow or deep as needed in this moment in the life of an individual.
Kathy — I think you’re right about the energetic penetration of influence going to the depth that’s currently needed.
I love what you say!… yes, we might influence others, without even knowing it.
Congrats on what is coming next, BTW…👏( my brother and his wife are going to be parents by February… and we are all very excited as well 😊) … sending love, dear Laurie. 😘
Aquileana — CONGRATULATIONS to your brother and sister-in-law. How EXCITING!!!!!!!!! 🙂
Laurie, I have an idea that I have influenced at least a few people in my life, I’m hoping that the results have been beneficial to most of them. I know that in my role of a Master Gardener I have saved the lives of many plants by giving useful advice to their owners. My husband Dennis, a retired educator, once gave me a T-Shirt covered in smiling children’s faces and the legend “Teachers Change the World…One Child at a Time.” Now, that’s some influence!
Sandi — I know for certain that I have been positively influenced by you. I’ve seen your garden, and I know it’s been positively influenced by you, too. The shirt that Dennis gave you sounds wonderful 🙂
I always assume that it’s the others out there that influence me but then someone says ‘that something ‘ that makes me sit up and think that actually I just might have influenced them.
Many congratulations for you new granddaughter🎉🎈
Cherry — Trust me when I say YOU have influence 🙂
Loved this post – so true. Ironically, The Eyes Have It is the working title for my newest (in progress) novel!
Dawn — How COOL is that?!
We can never know who we influence (immediate family and friends aside) which is why it’s imperative we live with integrity and honour. (and give ourselves a break when we trip and fall 🙂 )
Widdershins — Amen siSTAR ⭐
Sometimes I’ve thought my influence at times more negative than positive. Then one day two winters ago, I was wandering down the street where I used to live. A car drove by me and seemed to take a second glance my way. I continued around the corner. That same car was there. A young man got out and asked, “Are you Mrs. Lake?” I couldn’t deny it. “You were my favorite substitute teacher when I was in elementary school. You cared about us.”
This short conversation reminded me of shadows and eyes you may never see.
LakeAfton — I loved reading your comment. Oh my gosh, it must have been so satisfying and fulfilling to hear that young man say those words. Way to go!
I have five grandchildren Laurie, ages 3 – 12. I know my influence has been important and will continue to be through their lives. I think of my own grandparents with great joy almost every day. When I am feeling as if life is throwing me problem after problem I think back to wonderful times with them. Their influence and the memories I have of them is an oasis to my spirit.
TimelessLady — Ohhhh, I just loved reading your comment. I’m smiling from ear to ear 🙂
Laurie, this is a thought provoking question on many levels. As a professional woman, speaker, and author, you know that our words influence others. Our actions also influence others, especially the behavior we model for our children and grandchildren.
Soon, you will have the joy of watching your son lovingly parent Luna Bleue. You will see how he practices what you and Len taught him about being a parent, as he was growing up and watching you parent him. I always tell Jordan that I wish our parents were still alive so I can tell them that I now understand how much they loved our children!
I also am honored by the messages and memories I have seen from my former 3rd grade students on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Life is a blessings when we see the lives we have influenced and also know there are invisible blessings we have shared with others, but may not know how or when. 🙂
Sheila — Thank you so much for these words of wisdom. And I can well imagine that many people have found you to say THANK YOU for your influence.
When I was in my 20’s, I made a point of tracking down my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Kline. She made a huge positive influence in my life. She was bowled over when I showed up on her doorstep to tell her so 🙂
I’d like to think I influence my students and my children most of all, and though there remain some challenges and disappointments on every front you kind of get the feeling all will be well and on balance you wouldn’t wanna be anywhere else. 🙂
Sam — I agree. In the big scheme of things, there is balance and all WILL be well 🙂