The power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways. (Webster’s Dictionary)

My first thoughts seem to be on the negative forms of influence. For example, when I am a stumbling block to my children because of my bad habits and failings I have a negative effect on them or when a moodiness creeps in on one child’s attitude it can influence the attitudes of the others.

So how do I nurture the capacity of causing a positive effect on my family and they for each other? Doesn’t it simply boil down to ‘right living’? When I fall isn’t the best witness to pick myself up, to acknowledge my failing to myself and others, to ask forgiveness and carry on? Isn’t it to teach my family, using words only when necessary, generosity, a warm heart and a spirit of service; and doesn’t this course of action produce peace and joy? Don’t peace and joy profoundly influence the world around us?

I know these things, yet I need to read an action plan to myself at the beginning of the day, the middle of the day and at the end of the day that each moment must be deeply lived for the glory of God and that I am responsible for leading (not pushing or cajoling) my family into that understanding.

In the final analysis doesn’t this translate into the fact that, it’s NOT all about me?

I’ll need to thank Ken for continually reminding us of the JOY theory: Jesus first, Others second, Yourself third. Marlane, are you putting yourself second, or worse yet first? So, if we do first things first all will fall into to place and I won’t need to worry about whether I am being a good influence on my family and the world around me.

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