Apr 17, 2012

My Worldview - 1, Rings of Influence

I'll occasionally tap out posts in a new series detailing my worldview.  Snore-bore alert:  this series may will turn a tad dry, but it'll dig into the guts of what I believe and why.  If anything, it lets me pen to paper thoughts that come out better by keyboard than tongue.

Up to bat are Rings of Influence.

Rings, Glorious Rings
I keep an eye on current events to the degree that I'm able to make informed votes at the polls.  But in recent years, I've dialed back my involvement in state and national politics so I can focus more energy at the local level.  I came to the conclusion my time is best spent on hotspots where my impact is greatest.  Beard has little influence and impact on the national scene, but he has a high degree of influence on his daughter and those he sees around him each day.

As I was eyeballing the ceiling one night thinking through the above, a picture formed in my noggin that represents layers and power of influence.  Transferring thought to diagram spits out something like this:




Each of us directly influences our family and those in our social circle:  school, work, church and friends.  Likewise, we are directly influenced by them daily. 

Our power of influence weakens as we move away from the core.  Most of us have less bite at the state, national and world levels.  Unless you're President of the United States, then you have a wee bit of pull in those outer rings.

People that get worked up and frothing at the mouth on national elections often no-show for local school or town votes.  This line of thinking is jacked, since neighborhood ballot issues usually influence us more directly than national polls.    

Does this mean we should ignore world or national issues since our power of influence weakens as we arc away from the core?  Not at all!  But how I engage in the rings far from home is flavored by those inner balls.

Let's break it down, starting from the center.  I'll hit the inner two circles and the outer blue world ring today.  Call me (867-5309) if you'd like some words on those middle rings.

We'll eventually peel back all the layers in future posts.

Nuclear Family
Webster defines this ring traditionally as a married mother, father and their children.  Despite being divorced, I consider my daughter and I a nuclear family.  We're as much one as the married family of 6 living next door.

You and me wield a heavy stick of influence within the family orb.  If this isn't where the bulk of our time, energy and priorities are focused, it should be.  I believe there would be fewer problems in the outer rings if every family put priority on family.  When families, the anchors of society, are shored up and made strong, the foundation is in place to better help at the local, state, national and world levels.

A few simple traditions played out each day can help tighten a family.  Try and eat dinner together each evening with the TV off.  Enjoy the food as you converse, sharing what you did that day, both the joys and frustrations.  My daughter and I pray together each night before bed.  We say aloud at least one person we should pray for, then we both do so.

Tell your family you love them until they are sick of hearing it. 

The red dot in the center is Christ.  Me and my house attempt (but often fail miserably) to keep Him first.

Social Circle
This ring encompasses those we knuckle-punch each day:  neighbors, friends, co-workers, parents at school and church pew pals. 

We should seek ways daily to help those around us.  We see them often and can encourage through our daily conversations.  Get plugged in.  Show up and vote at school board elections.  Offer a hand to someone that needs a lift.  Thank a friend that did a favor for you.  Volunteer at school and community eventsGo over and talk to the person sitting alone in the pew.  They'll appreciate it, trust me.

World
I wonder how much of a dent I can make on the world ring.  Perhaps in time it could happen.  As I continue writing, new opportunities may open up that allow me to spray and nail a larger international audience.   

Until then, I'm careful with how I engage at the world level.  For example, I don't give cash to the International Red Cross, since I have no idea how or where that money is spent.  I'd rather give $$ directly to a family missionary serving overseas.  Or snap a hairnet on Pigtails and assemble meal pouches for a local volunteer org' that ships food directly to small villages in Africa.
  
Hazy Rings
Sometimes rings of influence are hazy or intersect.  For example, I work for a company with an international presence, which means I often interact with co-workers 12,000 miles away.  They live in that blue world ring on the diagram, but are also part of my social circle. 

Perhaps you live alone and are not part of a nuclear family.  Make the social ring your family.

We must be careful not to get so focused on those two innermost rings, family and social circle, that we forget those orbiting a few layers away. 

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The more I write, the more I wish to write.  I'll cut her off for now.  On deck are fleshing out those middle rings, along with how my thinking and actions in life are shaped by all the rings. 

-Beard

27 comments:

  1. "The more you wish to write."
    --You do it very well! Totally digging your blog, and having fun perusing. Very interesting to see things from a single dad's p.o.v. (although, truth be told, it is not all that different from a single mom's).

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    1. Thanks for reading, hope you'll come back for more.

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  2. Rachael4/18/2012

    "I believe there would be fewer problems in the outer rings if every family put priority on family. When families, the anchors of society, are shored up and made strong, the foundation is in place to better help at the local, state, national and world levels."

    I couldn't have said it better myself. I think it's the solution to most - if not all - social and economic problems and too often (nearly always?) ignored by those in positions of influence.

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    1. I agree, and what you say is what I plan to get into more detail on future posts for this series. The best solutions to social problems should probably start at home, not through government programs.

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  3. I like the way you think when you are staring at the ceiling. Makes perfect sense.

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    1. Good, I'm glad people are staying with me on this one. Will probably lose some readers as I pick at the Layers of Influence on later posts. But my motto for this blog is: make you laugh, make you think, make you angry.

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  4. I completely agree with you. My friend Scott started a non-profit here in Long Beach called We Love Long Beach. The goal is to reach all the people of the city through their neighbors. So if I am a nice caring compassionate neighbor who loves my city and desires to have a friendship with my neighbors the idea is that it will spread throughout the city. From neighbor to neighbor hood to district to citywide. It sounds a little hippy dippy but We Love Long Beach has done amazing things for the people of our city within the 4 short years it has been around.

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    1. Nice, you've got the right attitude! Is this the link? I'll read more about it:

      http://welovelb.org/org/view_page/34

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    2. Yes sir! The community pancake breakfasts are amazing, such a great way to make a big city in Southern California feel like a small town community!

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    3. That's it, we're having breakfast for dinner tomorrow night. Pancakes sound good now for some reason.

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  5. Anonymous4/18/2012

    Loved. Every. Word.

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  6. Anonymous4/18/2012

    I really enjoyed this post!! You have a wonderful way about you and your writting style is perfect. I am one who believes whole heartily in family is where it all starts.

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    1. Pigtails, if that's you trying to sweet talk your way into a higher allowance, forget about it.

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  7. I love the way you think. I am pretty confident the world would be a much better place if everyone just loved their children/family and put them first.

    Great post!

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    1. God first, family next, then fellow friends and neighbors. A lot of problems in society would go away with this formula.

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  8. Great post! Love your thoughts ... exactly my thoughts ...but WAY better said.

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    1. Glad I'm not alone, thanks for the note Cheri!

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  9. Anonymous4/19/2012

    Really like this thread. Look forward to more installments. "it takes but one Man..". Angela.

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    1. One skinny man and a tiny girl with pigtails.

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  10. Well as a reader from London, England - I have to say you have had change on my outlook on some things, especially the fact that I really need to get one of those Tenderloins from the other day.

    Came here for the Kitchen renovation and stayed for the story.

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    1. Tenderloins > kidney pie.

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    2. You make a good point. English food is often ridiculed but it we have come a long way. If you are ever in the UK let me know and I will take you guys to the best Fish and Chip shop in the world.

      oh but

      Steak and Ale pie > Tenderloins

      :)

      Keep up the fantastic blog.

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    3. Thanks Simon, hope to visit some time and would definitely give the steak & ale a try.

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  11. Anonymous4/19/2012

    Like Simon S, I came over from YHL to check out the kitchen reno and have been here ever since ... LOVE the way you love God and your daughter, the way you think, and the way you write! keep up the great work! the world needs more dads like you, for sure ... Kathy in Dallas

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    1. That made me smile Kathy, I appreciate it!

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  12. Thank you for sharing and inspiring! :)

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Thanks for the note, check back for my response!