Thursday, June 14, 2007

Who Has the Power?

WE have the power!

There is a very valuable lesson that was recently reinforced for me.

The person who has the power to influence others has the most power of all.

It was true of the Nazis in World War II and it’s an understatement to say that Hitler had a lot of influence on others. Our current political system has a lot of influence on the masses: Anyone heard of the immigration debate? American soldiers in Iraq? Stem cell research? Abortion? Hot topics, every single one.

In general, I believe that people are influenced by the things they hear and witness. Want proof? I was standing in line at the grocery store when I heard the young boy in line behind me mutter under his breath about the woman checking out in front of me. He was complaining about “the dirty welfare chick” who was using her Link card to purchase cereal, milk, vegetables and a bottle of juice. The kid couldn’t have been more than six! I glanced at the boy’s mother, knowing that if I was standing six feet away and heard him, certainly she heard him. As I looked at her, she smiled and gave her son a playful tap on the head. It appears that someone has quite a bit of influence on that little boy.

It’s not just children who are easily influenced. I know a woman who works for a very large corporation and I couldn’t help but cringe when she told me about how, during a meeting with upper management, a fellow manager verbally bashed one of his supervisees, calling the individual “lazy, ignorant, stupid and rude.” Everyone felt bad for the supervisor for having to put up with such a terrible employee. She went on to tell me that she knew this employee, and as far as she could tell, the employee was called “lazy” because even though this individual met all requirements, there wasn’t the same level of performance that was seen in the other staff members. “Ignorant” and “stupid” was apparently because the employee didn’t hold a degree equal to the degrees of the other employees. “Rude” was because the employee disagreed with how an account was being handled and suggested a better and more cost efficient way to manage it. She told me how the gossip became worse and more derogatory, until all of the supervisors in their department viewed the employee that way, and no matter how hard that employee worked or ultimately excelled, there was no way to break away from those labels. Talk about power of influence.

The good news is that there must be people in this world who actually care about and believe in the basic goodness of others. Today, I saw a little boy, maybe about four or five, struggling to hold open a department store door for his mom and dad. Someone obviously has some positive influence over that little boy.

God has that kind of influence on me. I hope that’s the kind of influence I have on those around me.

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