One of the great things about the holidays is spending time with family and friends. Which also means we get to see and experience who the next generation is becoming. I had a nephew quote me back to me. He told me something I told him several years ago that he remembers on a regular basis. I smiled and realized I had practiced this Chinese proverb, I had made a mark on his life.
Some children learn about life through amazing opportunities, some learn life lessons through strife, and still others learn how the world works by watching family make mistakes. I spoke to a woman who had her first child at seventeen. She dropped out of college, moved and had a baby all in the same year…at age seventeen. I was amazed at how powerful she seemed. I asked her what it was like for that to have happened at such a young age and she proudly told me she wouldn’t have changed a thing. It was the best life she could have designed for herself. She was scared when she started down that path and looking back was proud of herself for all that she had learned and survived. It made her who she is today. That experience left it’s mark.
Every person we encounter, every person who speaks into our life, every person we like or dislike, enjoy or want to avoid, they all leave a mark. Children especially, are like sponges and absorb everything we do and often do not learn until much later that they have the power to filter in and out the parts they want or do not want. Our job is to provide them the best we can offer which lets them build a foundation for their own lives. Be it advice, experiences, or plain old fun, what we say and do has power to change them forever.
As you interact with family and friends this holiday season, make your mark carefully. Be conscious of the example, power, and influence you have over these moldable minds. One day they may quote you back to you and I hope for your sake that they repeat words or actions of which you want to be reminded.