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  • Laura Sarsten

Open to Influence

As the year comes to a close and a new year begins, I think of all the people I am blessed to have in my life. My family, my husband, the teachers I collaborate with, students,colleagues, and friends old and new. It seems as we move through our days, we are like mama kangaroos picking up new moments and mentors to tuck safe inside our pouches to cherish.

What’s curious, though, is that when I’m honest with myself I notice that at times I resist newness and influence. I think we all do. For example, when my sister insisted that I try this new pillow to help me sleep better, my initial reply was “a pillow is a pillow, Sara”, but I quickly changed my mind after getting a nice eight-hour rest with the new one! I am also reminded of Billy, a 4th grader, who was hesitant to talk to me about his reading. He kept his book shut and shrugged when I asked him about his thinking. I was thrown for a moment, but I quickly shared a little joke about one of the characters in his book and suggested we try something out together. He let out a glimmer of a smile, open to the influence of laughter and trying something new.

So, how about in the new year, when influence comes along, we accept it.

Below are a few of my resolutions for the new year.

This year I promise to….

  • be open to receiving influence from others by having an open heart and mind

  • ignite positive feelings with the people/students/teachers I know and work with

  • value the time spent with others and find opportunities to learn something from them (both big and small!)

  • be an agent for positive change

Most of all, I want to use my strengths to encourage others to use the gifts and talents they posses so they can in turn be influential to others. Our priority must be to truly care for the people in our lives—not just with our hearts, but with a true commitment to help, a promise to stand beside them, and a willingness to be present whenever we’re needed.

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