I arrived early for an appointment at a particular meeting place this week. There was an indoor playground for toddlers close by so I decided to watch them at play while I waited. Of course, every personality type was on display which was delightful to watch. More importantly, I witnessed an event that will influence two people for the rest of their lives.
In my toddler-watching, one little fella in particular caught my attention. He was drawn to the slide. He raced up the steps as fast as his little legs could pump, flung his bottom down and plunged forward with a silly grin on his face. As soon as his feet hit the ground at the end of his downward journey he raced around to the steps again. I watched him do this manic little circle a few times. Then, at one point, he stopped. He had noticed a little girl standing to the side of the slide looking up but never venturing onto the steps. He stood aside, holding up the traffic that had started building up behind him, and gestured to the girl to go up. She shook her head. He then walked over to her, took her hand and slowly led her up the high steps (all five of them). When he got to the top he let her pass and showed her how to get going, which she did, smiling from ear to ear. As soon as she got to the bottom she raced around to the back of the steps again and without hesitating, began the upward journey. The two of them were still sliding when I had to leave.
We all have influence in some way or another and we get to choose how we will use it. Our influence will very likely fall into one of these two categories:
- We do things for others. We put shoulder to the wheel and help others. We may help them move house, show them a new App that will make their life easier, carry our share of the load at work, open the door for someone, recommend a movie. In a million ways in any given week we get to choose to do things for people and it helps them move ahead in life in big or small ways.
- We do things to others. We don’t show up when we committed to, we snigger with our friends about someone, we don’t do something we volunteered to do or we do it half heartedly or late, we don’t share information that others may find useful, we cut people off in traffic. In any given week, we get to choose to do things to people and it hinders them from moving ahead in life in big or small ways.
We get to choose whether our influence helps others or hinders them. We get to do things for people or to people. We get to choose.
But, along with that choice comes the consequence. Whichever one we choose we end up doing to ourselves.