January 23. The Power of Examples.

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing. (Albert Schweitzer)

I am who I am today because of the countless examples in my life over the past 52 years. My mother, my older siblings, my God Parents, bosses, friends and other family members have each taught me something about how to live my life. Some things I have learned by seeing their successes and emulating their formula. Others things have been learned by avoiding those things I saw leading them to failure. But, it always has been the example that has taught me and has influenced me to be the person I am today.

Examples are powerful teaching tools. Whether teaching a child to tie their shoes, or teaching a surgeon how to successfully complete a transplant, nothing of importance can be learned or influenced without examples.

When I think about the people who have had the greatest influence on my life, I cannot recall a time when any of them sat me down and told me how to live. They showed me

My mother taught me that there are no small jobs. She taught me that every job presents itself with the opportunity to work hard and make a difference.

My God Parents showed me the power of unconditionally loving a friend, through good times and bad, and how to be there even when it wasn’t convenient.

My siblings showed me how to raise children in a modern world. They showed me how to celebrate successes in their children, and how to cope with the trials.

My closest friends have shown innumerable examples of how to be there for one another. The have shown me that it isn’t just blood that runs thick between people, but the common bond of loving friends which is a force as powerful as any.

Many people have influenced me in my life. Some of them know that they made a difference, others have no idea. As I sit here today I am reminded that my life, and how I conduct myself, is setting an example for dozens – even hundreds of people. How I handle my successes and failures, triumphs and tragedies, serve as a constant model to those around me. Some will see what I do and say “I want to do it just like that”. Others will see what I do and say “no way would I ever do that.” Some will be aware that I am an influence on them, others will have that influence as an unconscious guide.

As I begin the first day of my 53rd year, I am more aware than ever that the my example is an influence in the world around me. I am not going to sit here today and ponder whether I am always the best example of success. I know that is a fool’s folly. I have had, and will have successes and failures in my life. I am, after all, just a flawed human being doing my best to be my best. Rather, I will just humbly ponder the fact that everything I do is influential, in some small or large way, on those around me.

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