Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of--throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Power of Influence

What do you get when you combine love, power, shared vision and a family of nine? Well, as my 15 yr old son and I drove home from his new job, that was the topic of discussion. His question comes in response to a shift in our parenting paradigm. We have been adding to our knowledge by learning from our friend Nicholeen Peck, the author of Parenting: A House United and a blog called We are having a tremendous amount of positive change in our family as we each make a choice to remain calm in our interactions. It is hard at times not to go back to the default, but it is worth the effort.

What was my son's major concern? That now, I seem to have this weird ability to cause him to want to do what I ask him to do. WOW! So, he asks, is this some kind of positive, loving manipulation? (He knows what he's talking about. I have really given him a few courses in Mom's Manipulation 101, complete with the "Don't make me come down there" syllabus.) OK, after I laughed silently to myself, I asked him if there was any other word he could think of to describe that type of relationship. He thought for a minute and then gave me that stare, which means, could you just tell me what word you are thinking of? Before I could tell him, he jokingly said, well whatever it is, I have to warn all of my friends before their moms start having this weird, positive power over them. I couldn't help it, I laughed...actually I giggled. And then I realized the word to describe positive, loving, calm parental power is influence.

I shared my realization with my son and he had his own light bulb moment. Eyes wide he replied- Oh, I see. Influence. Then he hit me with his own realization. He said, We should call it Influensa because it's going to spread like a disease, but a positive one. I couldn't hold the giggles in and we had a nice laugh together.

But, in all seriousness. I know that my son is right. If, as parents, we can learn to remain calm and express love to our children even in the midst of frustration and family life, we will have accomplished something miraculous. We will teach our children how to be the master of their own emotions and decisions. We will help them choose to act wisely, even in the face of confusion and chaos.

That sounds like a tall order, but I have seen the incredible impact it can have on a family and a community. I, for one, know it is worth the effort. For one day, just give it a try. Choose calm, even if storms are raging. If you feel the desire to see a miracle in action...try it. If enough of us do it, maybe we can cause a worldwide pandemic of calm...what would that be like? What if, as parents, we did as a great man I read about once said, teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves? Or what if we went a step further, and lived correct principles and showed them how to govern themselves?'s worth thinking about.

For further information, I highly recommend The Power of Calmness by William George Jordan and the above referenced book and blog by Nicholeen Peck.

No comments:

Post a Comment