We care deeply about America and the legacy of liberty we leave for our children.
Many are asking, “What can I do? How can I make a difference?” Here are some simple, yet powerful, suggestions.
Consider Your Situation
Reflect on the Things You Value Most. Faith, family, freedom...these are things many of us hold dear. They guide our thoughts and are reflected in our daily activities. What are the thing you value most? What are your priorities?
As mothers, I believe one of our first priorities is to nurture our children. I agree with Ronald Reagan who said, “The family has always been the cornerstone of American society. Our families nurture, preserve, and pass on to each succeeding generation the values we share and cherish, values that are the foundation of our freedoms.”
When we nurture our children well we prepare them to lead happy, purposeful lives and make the world a better place. If that’s all we do, we have done something of infinite worth. It’s hard to overestimate the value of a Nelle Reagan or a Sonya Carson. These were both humble women in difficult circumstances who changed the course of history. Any mother who gives her best to teaching her children the “values that are the foundation of our freedoms” leaves a precious legacy.
Some mothers have other opportunities as well. You may want to improve the quality of your child's education, make your city a better place to live, help teen moms, teach others about the importance of constitutional government, or help elect good leaders. We each need to look into our hearts and decide what we can and ought to do to make the world better.
Decades ago, long before we moved to our community, a group of families decided to work with the public school system to create a school that would provide an outstanding education, with a focus on basic skills and an understanding of history. It took many years of effort, but they succeeded beyond their dreams. Their service will have a lasting impact on our family and many others.
Think About Your Season in Life. At each stage of life we have important things to accomplish that may be difficult or impossible to do at any other time. What is your season? What are your current opportunities and constraints? Where should you focus now?
I recently received a letter from my 19-year-old son. He asked me to give my best efforts to mothering his younger brother (our youngest child). He reminded me that I will have all the rest of my life to pursue other interests, but we only have a year before this young son leaves home. When he added, “Like me. :),” his words brought tears to my eyes. He’s doing exactly what we want him to do, but we really miss him. I can’t go back and do things for him now that should have been done while he was at home. Each season is unique.
Assess What You Have to Offer. What are your talents, resources, and abilities? Are you a willing worker? A persuasive speaker? A cheerful teacher? Make a list of your gifts, character traits, skills, habits and other things you bring to the table that can help move your cause forward.
Include unique talents and abilities. One influential leader I know was famous for her home-made chocolates. With fabulous flavors, fun packaging, and thoughtful notes, this leader created many thoughtful gifts. Her culinary efforts were an important part of her superb team-building skills.
Review Your Circle of Influence. Stephen Covey taught that we each have a circle of concern (consisting of all the things we want to be able to influence) and a circle of influence (consisting of the things we really can influence) The paradox is that the more we focus on our circle of concern, the less influence we have. On the other hand, the more we work within our circle of influence, the larger it grows, and the bigger the impact we can have on our circle of concern. Don't worry if your circle of influence is small at first. It will grow.
Decide If You Can Accomplish More Working on Your Own or With Others. If you're able to accomplish more working with others, identify who you know (or could meet) who has the most influence in the area(s) you are most interested in. Contact them and offer to help. Ask them how you can best support the cause. Enlist the help of like-minded friends.
After you’ve taken time to carefully consider your situation, use the information and insights you've gleaned to prayerfully set your goals. Ask yourself, "What do I want to have happen?" Write down what you want to accomplish. Be specific. Set measurable targets. Review your goals often. Refine them as needed. This step gives you clearer vision, purpose, focus, and commitment.
Be sure to pray for God's guidance and help with your efforts. Throughout our history, miracles have happened when ordinary people did their best and relied on God to help them when their own efforts were not enough.
Create a Plan
Your plan is your carefully-crafted, step-by-step map, that guides you from where you are to where you want to be. It gives direction, commitment, and energy to your efforts.
The plan is where you pull everything together.
- Give your plan a meaningful title.
- Describe your purpose and values.
- Explain your goals.
- Create a timeline of measurable milestones.
- List the specific tasks you need to complete to reach the milestones, dividing them into easy-to-manage chunks.
- Document key information about schedule, resources, and budget.
Implement Your Plan
Each week review your plan and prepare to meet your milestones.
- Set goals for the week.
- Set aside time on your calendar to complete the tasks.
- Each evening evaluate your day and plan the next day, listing specific tasks you will work on.
- Coordinate with family and team members as needed
Record and Evaluate Your Efforts
Keep a journal. Keep a record of your efforts -- what you did and what the results were. Write down and learn from your successes and failures. Review your journal regularly. Great people throughout history have tended to keep a journal. Many believe the insight and refinement of thought they gained from writing in a journal was the secret of their success.
Making a difference is a lifelong effort, but as you consider your situation, set goals, create and implement a plan, then evaluate your efforts, you will grow in your ability and influence, and leave a meaningful legacy for those you love!