I have been enjoying beautiful colors for the past few weeks- the trees and bushes are beautiful shades of reds, yellows, and oranges.  This is one of my favorite times of the year. I hope to take some pictures and post them here soon. I always find it nearly impossible to capture the full beauty of what I see.  For now, here are a few of my thoughts on making a difference to others- especially to our children.

When I think of the people that have had the greatest influence in my life, invariably it is those that took a special interest in me personally. These people conveyed to me, not by their words but by their actions, that I was important to them and that they liked me and enjoyed my company. Looking back, it doesn’t seem like they intentionally tried to teach me anything or influence me, but by showing an interest in me, they unknowingly taught me through their example. It’s like the saying- I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.

As my children get older and I feel my ability to influence them begin to diminish, I’m beginning to realize that I have been going about this in the wrong way. My tendency is to want to tell my children things- to teach them and influence them mainly by what I say. The best thing I can do as a parent is to spend as much time as I can with them individually and to try to tell them less. By doing things they want to do as often as possible, they will come to know and feel of my love. Then, they will feel comfortable approaching me with their concerns, and perhaps I will have a greater opportunity to be an influence.

Of course, there are times when a parent needs to teach, discipline, encourage, etc. by what he/she says- it can’t all be done just by spending time together and having fun. But I have mostly had it backwards by thinking that the fun times would follow the teaching moments and now, with my oldest turning 14 in a few weeks, I am beginning to realize that the teaching moments will follow when my children feel that I love them as a result of my taking more of an interest in their lives by spending time with them individually and by doing things that they enjoy more often.  I believe the most influential moments come as a result of regularly spending one on one time together, and this is something I hope to improve.

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