Growing up, one of my uncles lived across the country. He’d visit maybe once each year. But for the short time I spent with him, he had a disproportionate impact on my childhood.
It would start when he would arrive at our house. As we welcomed him in, he always seemed to just happen to have a bunch of candy in all of his jacket pockets, candy that we were happy to relieve him of. After dinner, he would spend the evening lying on the floor of our family room, launching us into the air and being our human jungle gym.
Somehow he knew the secret of making time count when you want to connect with people you love.
I was talking with some friends recently about the people who impacted us when we were kids. For me, I can recall a few significant grownups, like my uncle, who had an incredible influence on my by doing the smallest things.
Things like looking me with a twinkle in their eye. And talking to me, rather than talking about me to my parents. As a quiet kid, the grownups who took notice of me made me walk a couple inches taller.
Who had an influence on you growing up?
It might have been a teacher or a coach, a neighbour or a relative, who took the extra second to play or ask about your day.
When we talk as grownups about having an impact on the world, or influencing other people, we often think we need to do some great thing. It’s the great famous people whom we look up to as difference-makers, after all. But maybe in looking for the “greats”, we miss the opportunities for influence that we have every day.
Maybe Mother Theresa was right (of course she was right, she was Mother Theresa), when she said:
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Look for the small things. Because it’s the small things, done for the smallest ones, that make the biggest impact.