in·flu·enc·er | \ ˈin-ˌflü-ən(t)-sər
By Stacy LaMorte
: one who exerts influence: a person who inspires or guides the actions of others; often, specifically: a person who is able to generate interest in something (such as a consumer product) by posting about it on social media
Have you heard your child talk about learning something from an “influencer” on social media? It is interesting to me that our kids spend so much time and take so much of what these people say and do to heart. Most of the time, they want to buy the lifestyle they are selling, as well. Even if they don’t want to emulate them, they are still investing their time in watching what they are doing.
We are our children’s first influencers. What we say and, more importantly, what we do is absorbed by our children and filed away. When we are driving and we lose our temper with another driver or make snide remarks about them, we think that it is harmless, because the other person couldn’t hear us (unless we honked our horn at them, I guess). But when our kids are in the car, we are teaching them to lose their temper with strangers for the slightest reason.
When we are kind to someone to their face, but then as soon as they are gone, we talk about them under our breath and our children can hear, we are influencers. Or how about if we spend hours of watching mindless television or scrolling through social media on our computer or phone? Our children will learn more from our actions than from what we say to them about limiting their own media use.
Sometimes, as I go through my day, I pretend my life is being recorded like a reality show and I ask myself, “Am I the kind of influencer I would like to be?”