It’s fun to do tell people what I do for a living.
It’s sometimes even more fun to explain it.
Not gonna lie, I kinda like the fact that people are jealous of my job.
While it is fun to work with kids on behavior and social skills through play and activities, it also has some challenges.
Everyday, I am reminded that I am person of influence. Not just when I am excited. Not just when I am teaching a strategy I had a great idea for. Not just when I spend an hour with them at school.
I am also an influence when I am in the halls. I am an influence in all the conversations that may be overheard, the little actions I think others may not have seen, and the decisions I make on a daily basis. Every word that I speak, text, or type is a word of influence.
That is a sobering thought for me.
Each week at school, I seem to find a different theme. This week I was challenged by several heart-wrenching situations I saw my students face. Each situation was caused by a moment of influence. Moments when adults decided to flippantly say phrases such as ” I am so sick of you,” or ” I don’t love you,” or “You are so dumb, stupid, annoying etc.”
It breaks my heart that children have to hear these things from people they love and trust. It hurts me that they are hurt. It motivates me to action.
Please, If you are in a position of influence in a child’s life, watch what you say and do. Kids tend to listen the most, when they think they can’t hear us.
This week we also worked on my new “door” project for Leadership Day at school next week. The door had my vision statement for my students, as well as the mission statement for our goals. In the middle I had written ” I am a leader.” Each child had to write on a piece of paper their 3 best qualities.
I found time and time again as I told them to write this, they looked at me with questions in their eyes. A lot of them didn’t know their best qualities. They were too busy remembering their worst qualities.
I am not trying to come at you all from a place that says, ” I am perfect and always say the right thing to everyone.” I most certainly do not. I mess up, fail, and say the wrong thing more times than I want to remember.
The point of my rambling today is this. If you have a child in your life, at home, school, work, church,etc., whether you like it or not, you are a person of influence.
- If you say negative things about yourself, they will see that and begin to think that is the norm.
- If you gossip, they will learn to do the same.
- If you obsess about your self-image, they probably will.
- If you put people down, they will think it’s okay.
- If you say something hurtful to them, they will never forget.
That is some powerful influence, my friends.
Now, I am no expert, but I have thought of 5 things that you can do to be a positive person of influence in a child’s life.
Show up: I can’t stress this enough. Kids won’t remember what toy you bought them, what clothes you picked out, or how much extra money you earned working overtime. They will remember that you came to their awards assembly, ballet class, baseball game, or spelling bee. You don’t have to say a lot. You just need to show up.
Be interested. I know. One week they will love soccer, Justin Bieber, and have a best friend and then next week they will have moved onto Miley Cyrus, basketball, and have 6 different best friends. Kids are fickle and have many varied interests. That shouldn’t stop you from asking about them. Don’t you love it when people remember things about your life and bring it up. I do. Imagine how children feel when you show interest in the details of their lives. Also, let them know how proud of them you are. Tell them how great you think they are. I know we don’t want kids to get to prideful, but they need to hear your encouragement.
Set the example. If you don’t want your child to use foul language, watch your mouth. If you want them to be honest, don’t lie or cheat. If you want them to have a positive self-image, don’t let them catch you talking bad about yourself. If you want them to treat others with respect, show them respect. Children follow your actions more than you think.
Empathize with them. Kids will succeed and fail, sometimes within a matter of hours. They will have exciting moments and heartbreaks in the same day. Some things they go through in a day seem simple compared to our complex adult problems, but to a child they are serious. Don’t downplay their feelings. Don’t make it about you. Don’t make your problems more important. Don’t fix their problem. Just join them in what they are feeling. Go through it with them. Guide and comfort them through it.
Show them the love of Jesus. Children are so impressionable. If you profess to be a Christian, you better walk the walk in front of the children in your life. Don’t just put on a show. Teach them about Jesus. Help them grow in their faith. Set an example for them. Pray with and for them. Love them like Jesus, unconditionally. When they mess up, don’t hold it against them. Love them each day like it’s a new day. Teaching the children in your life about Jesus and living out the Christian walk is the most important thing anyone can do for a positive influence on a child’s life.
I am incredibly blessed and humbled to have influence over so many different children. It challenges me and at times, scares me to death.
Jesus loves children. He values them. He sees them as very very important people.
We each have the ability to have positive or negative influence on a child’s life.
Your influence matters.