Influence Power

Today I loved. 

Today I encouraged. 

Today I taught. 

Today I helped. 

But before that…

Today I got frustrated. 

My daughter has been tasked by her first grade teacher to read as much as possible this month. If she reads 1200 minutes or more, she will get a GOLD MEDAL and get to eat dinner with her teacher and order WHATEVER SHE WANTS. Needless to say she’s been reading more than I’ve ever seen this child read. 

So today when school was cancelled due to blizzard conditions, I expected her to get a great deal of reading accomplished. She and I discussed this several times before I headed to work and I was confident she would follow through. Long story short, she didn’t.

Total amount of time she read while I was away = 0 minutes. 

This frustrated me. A lot. Thankfully, I had an entire (snowy) 65 minute drive home to collect my thoughts while my fiancé reminded me that it was a small misstep and not a gigantic failure as a mother. 

When I got home, I decided to try something that I often fail at doing. I sat down and had a conversation with my daughter. No reprimand. No punishment. No guilt. No frustrations. I asked questions and listened to her answers. I reminded her why it was important to read, not only because of this one big goal but because people who read learn all kinds of cool things. The conversation grew and took twists and turns down roads that I never could have expected. Thirty minutes later, we finished talking about how she believed she would be the first woman president. 

Did I have a good day today? Yes. 

Did my daughter have a good day today? Yes. 

Could I have made both of our days much worse? Absolutely. 

The quality of the day was in large part driven by my actions. I think we sometimes forget that each and every one of us have a profound influence on those who love us, especially our children. The power we hold is intense and scary and downright tough to manage. With that power comes great responsibility. 

And with that in mind, I’m going to start taking that responsibility exponentially more seriously. 

~ Thankfully Exhausted

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