Influence Isn't a Popularity Contest
by Tom Goodman
November 17, 2010
In the New Yorker essay, "The Defiant Ones," Daniel Zalewski reviewed picture books for children -- and found a world of
hand-wringing parents. "The parents in today's stories suffer the same diminution in authority felt by the parents reading them aloud (an hour past bedtime)," he wrote. "The typical adult in a contemporary picture book is harried and befuddled,
scurrying to fulfill a child's wishes and then hesitantly drawing the line."
From Ian Falconer's best-selling Olivia series to the new Constance series by Pierre Le Gall, to Victoria and Elizabeth Kann's Pinkalicious, Zalewski observes that the parents in these stories simply can't endure the tension
their discipline creates. In David Shannon's best-selling "No, David!" for example, David, after playing baseball in the house and shattering a vase, is made to sit in the corner. A single tear appears. The mother can't stand it. "Davey, come
here," she says. "Yes, David... I love you!"
The reality is that good parenting and constant popularity cannot co-exist. This is true of other positions of influence, too.
Each Sunday in November we're looking at what it takes to become a person of influence. The series is called "Leave Your Mark," and it's a look at Paul's first missionary journey as recorded in Acts 13-14. It's for parents and coaches and teachers and managers and civic leaders and anyone else who knows the importance of influence. You can catch up with the series
on our website.
This third Sunday in the series, we'll look at Acts 14, where some people saw Paul perform a miraculous healing and concluded he was a god. When he wouldn't let them worship him, they tried to lynch him instead. It's a vivid picture of how fleeting
popularity can be. No matter the reaction, he continued to teach the Word.
As influencers, there are going to be times when people bless us and other times when they blast us. The pursuit of the one and the avoidance of the other cannot be our goal if we want to leave our mark in the lives of others. Instead, our job is to
faithfully hold up a vision worth pursuing and call people to it.
This has been a useful sermon series for me to prepare for you. I hope it's had an effect on your leadership and parenting as well. Join us this Sunday as we continue to learn some important truths about leaving our mark in the lives of others!
Weblog: Check out my blog, "Get Anchored," with its Links to Your World -- interesting and informative links, posted every Tuesday.
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