Have you ever noticed that it’s not convenient to intentionally be a positive influence in other people’s lives? But it is one of the most rewarding things you could ever choose to do.
I don’t have kids of my own and so I have made the decision to pour into the lives of the kids around me, those of my closest friends. This really started for me back 20 years ago, when my siblings were having kids. My brother David's kids would come down to Florida every summer for a week, so they could have some “Uncle Paul time.”
I wanted to show them another way of life. I wanted to show them the possibilities that were available to them if they chose to go for it. I wanted to show them that you could have it all – you could have financial success, while having great relationships, great health and being happy and fulfilled.
It was never convenient for me to have my brother’s kids down for a visit, but I was invested in them and I was committed to their growth. So, I did what I had to do for it to work in my life.
And as the years have gone by and my nieces and nephews have grown up, I have intentionally chosen to place myself into the lives of some other families.
Roddy and Susan Galbraith have 4 beautiful kids. I see them at least every couple months, and then every Christmas we get together. I bring over gingerbread house kits to their home, and we have a gingerbread house building competition. At least it always seems to turn into a competition. We have a blast together, the adults helping the kids to put the houses together, to glue any broken pieces with a little bit more icing, to paste the candies all over the roof and the sides, and to munch on the sweets while we spend the time together.
Look, if you were to look at my life and my schedule, you could very easily rationalize that I don’t have time for this in my life. I don’t have time to spend an afternoon building gingerbread houses. But you know what? I do it anyways. Because I love those kids and I want the best for them and I want them to know that “Uncle Paul” is here for them no matter what. I want a relationship with them and I want to pour into their lives and to be another example for them that they can build and create whatever it is that they desire in their lives. Of course, their parents are an incredible example for them, but it never hurts to have an “Uncle Paul” as well.
This past weekend, I was in Kansas City for a wedding. I just happened to be talking to my good friend and fellow faculty member on the John Maxwell Team, Chris Robinson, and I found out he was going to be in Kansas City this weekend with 4 of his 6 kids, away on a “daddy weekend.” Right away, I said to him, “If you have time, let’s do breakfast altogether on Sunday morning.”
Remember, I was in town for a wedding. It had been a busy few days and a late night the day before. It wasn’t convenient for me to squeeze a breakfast meeting in. And it also wasn’t convenient for Chris to squeeze it in, with his 4 kids there. But we did it. Because we are invested in each other, and because I want to be a part of his kids’ lives, much like I am a part of the Galbraith’s kids’ lives.
I know that my voice in a kid’s life can make a huge positive impact. I know that most kids don’t hear a lot of positive voices speaking into them. Now these two families are rock solid, and their parents are doing an incredible job raising them, but I don’t think it ever hurts to have an “Uncle Paul.”
Having a positive influence in another person’s life is almost never convenient, but it is oh so important… not just for them, but for you too.
I’ve also gotten to play a role in my assistant, KayDubois’ son’s life. Hugh is a great young man, and I’ve gotten to meet him and know him a little bit over the last couple years. I remember the first time I met him, and he commented on how much he liked my cologne that I was wearing. Now it wasn’t convenient for me to remember that. And it wasn’t convenient for me to track that detail and to order him a bottle of the cologne, and to remember to pack it the next time I was traveling to Atlanta for an event when I knew I would see him again. But it didn’t matter if it was convenient or not. I knew that he was a young man whose life I wanted to speak into, and I was blessed that he has a mom who allows me to do that.
I believe that the more kids you can positively influence, the better this world will be. These are our leaders of tomorrow. And we need to step up and show them an example of responsibility, of commitment to growth, of kindness and unconditional love. That’s what’s going to change our world for the better.
My other assistant, Holly, has two kids, Caleb and Emerson. They are still little, only 2 and 3 years old, but they are taking it all in. Nothing gets past these little boys. And you can see the wheels turning in their little heads. Whenever I have a chance to be with them and interact with them, it’s my goal to open their minds just a little bit more to their potential, their giftedness, and their perfection as being created in the image of God.
I encouraged their mom to get them an abundance box, and sure enough she did. And now Holly shares with me how she is teaching the boys to do little tasks around the house to help out, whether that be cleaning up their toys, making their beds, or sharing nicely with each other, and that they get to make “cash money” when they do, to put in their abundance box. These boys are learning the value of money, and the value of work.
Holly was telling me how they recently took out all their cash money and counted it up, and set 10% aside in their giving jar, and then they went to the toy store. They talked about the toys they could buy and the toys they would need to earn more money in order to buy. They each picked something out and they bought it with their own cash money! What incredible lessons these boys are learning.
It isn’t convenient for me to take time out of my very busy schedule to be with Caleb and Emerson, to play that influential role in their lives, but I wouldn’t choose to do it any other way.
Sometimes people equate “influencing” with “manipulating,” and I want to set the record straight on that.
Just think of a time when you were trying to make a decision about whether or not to take that next step, to buy that personal development program, to invest in yourself in a new way, and somebody came alongside you and helped to show you the benefits you would receive when you took this step. Did they help you or did they manipulate you? If you took a step forward in your growth as a result of their input and their influence in your life, then they didn’t do anything to you but HELP you! And one thing I’m sure of is that it wasn’t convenient for them to have that conversation with you. I’m sure there were plenty of other things they could have been doing. But they saw a need, and they filled the need.
The role of influencer is a critical role in this world. We have far too many people who are just standing by the sidelines, afraid to speak out, afraid to be a voice of change, afraid to make a positive impact in the lives of others.
Don’t be that person! Your influence is needed! Everyday, in the lives of those around you! Your voice is needed.
I believe in you and I believe in your dream!!
Hold Your Image!!
We were born to BE, DO and HAVE more.