Forces of Influence

This blog is about women – who women are – what women have done and what women can do. I believe that most women sell themselves short. We often don’t have high expectations for ourselves. We use words like,”I’m just a________” or I’m only a_________” Men, it seems to me, don’t typically say that. They just tell you they are a CPA or a carpenter or an electrician. But they don’t use the word “just” as an adjective to describe what they do. Men typically define themselves by what they do. They are a carpenter or a lawyer. Their job or profession defines them. That’s why men often have serious emotional issues when they lose a job. They’ve lost what defines them.

I know I’m generalizing and there are always exceptions, but for women, it’s different. When a woman tells someone she’s a a teacher, a lawyer, mom or a sales clerk it doesn’t define her. I believe, (and I don’t know that I can back this up with research) but I do believe that women often define themselves by how they impact others. Women want to know that they have made a difference in someone else’s life. We want to know that we have helped, encouraged, redirected, inspired or rescued someone.

I belong to the Assistance League of Kansas City, which is a non-profit, volunteer organization that makes a difference in our community. This year we hosted several lunch and learn events that focused on the influence women have had on our country. At the last luncheon a local photographer spoke to us about the impact that influential women in the Kansas City area have had on our community since its founding. It was very informative and eye opening. I’ve live in Kansas City for more than 25 years and did not know about the women behind some  very important qualities of our city. But it was the following statement he made at the beginning of his presentation that really stuck with me. I knew I wanted to remember those words so, I contacted him and requested he send me this quote:

“As I was putting together my first four books, I realized that nothing of a socially redeeming value has been accomplished in Kansas City without the leadership of women…the ladies of the early part of the 20th century who championed women’s rights, civil rights and education and so on…its hard to argue with. Us guys who think that men have made this city a better place to live are only kidding ourselves. Kansas City, and I think most cities, would be nothing without the leadership of women. Men go out and do things, but it is the women who bring the moral compass to bear on the livability of any community.” B. Mathews

That quote really inspired me. I’d been thinking about starting this blog for quite a while and that quote was the trigger to just do it.

This blog is not intended to bash men…I like men (most of the time)…but this blog isn’t about men. This blog is intended to encourage women to think about the ways in which we have influence on those around us, whether its our families, our neighborhoods, our community or our country. We have a role to play. We have influence and we need to give serious thought to the ways in which we can influence those around us for good. We need to think big. We need to believe in ourselves. We need to take action…and we need to do it now.

One of the things you can do right now is to comment on this blog. My goal is for this blog to be engaging and interactive. I’m hoping this blog will cause you to think about new ideas and ways in which you can be influential and ultimately stir you to action. There is no expectation that we will always agree with each other, but there is an expectation that when we disagree we will do it respectfully and with the intent to inform or offer another viewpoint.

So, who are the “Wise Women”  whose wisdom has influenced your life? I’d love to hear about them!



16 thoughts on “Forces of Influence”

  1. I have to say: I had very strong women in my family beginning with my maternal Great Grandmother, who ran a boarding house for railroad men in Arkansas. My maternal Grandmother was a teacher and my paternal Grandmother, was also a teacher. I believe my Mother was the strongest of them all. My Mother was the most incredible role model for me. Even after a devastating accident that left her paralyzed, she went on to; rear a teen aged daughter by herself, buy her own home, start and run successfully another business after retiring from previously being a corp officer of a similar business. And she did all that with a positive attitude and her sense of humor intact! After witnessing my mother’s life, there is no room for whining in my life! Only gratitude for all my blessings…


    1. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story about a very strong woman! You were truly blessed by her strength and I see that same strength in you today!


  2. I love your idea for this blog, Barb. The quotation you posted is so on-target. I look forward to the interaction of many wise women who surround us!


    1. Thanks so much for your support. I hope each blog will carry a message that will be meaningful to all of us.


  3. One of the wise woman who has been most influential in my life is Anita. I would not be who I am today without her gentle, caring spirit, encouragement, and prayers. She has had a tender way of loving me, and yet is faithful to gently bring to the surface my sin and the lies I’ve believed that keep me from the truth of who God is and being able to live out of that truth. She is one who has helped me understand the nature of God in scripture by who she is. Although she is very intelligent and accomplished, that is not what comes to mind when you think of her, but instead it is humility. She deeply she loves God, and is committed to Him, and cares for others well out of that deep place of connection with Him.


    1. Wendy. What a great compliment to your friend Anita She certainly displays the characteristics of wisdom and has positively influenced your life. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Barbara


  4. Love the ideas in this blog. Women definitely have an influence on so many and we need to focus on encouraging each other and using that influence for good.
    One of the most influential women I know is my Mom. She is strong, but gentle. She is well-respected by so many and I seek her wisdom and advice all the time (even though I’m in my late 40s and a mom myself) because I value her opinion and know that she will tell me what I need to hear – not just what I want to hear. There are influential women in my life who support and encourage me, but my Mom is at the top of the list!


    1. Oh my! What can I say in reply to this except to say, I love you, too, and think that you are a very wise person, too!”


  5. My mom. She influenced everyone she met and it was always seeing them for the potential they had not as they saw themselves. Like you said, she never saw anyones as just…… She saw them as someone created and loved by God. She didn’t have a lot of earthly wealth and she didn’t fuss about her clothes or her house. She influenced others for the Kingdom – especially little children. I miss her everyday and pray I can be more like her each day.


    1. To want to be more like your mother is a tribute to her. The fact that you are more like her is a tribute to you.


  6. My paternal grandmother was a big influence. She started her own realty company which was a first for our town. At the same time, she took time to have big family dinners and grandkids overnight often. I grew up thinking I could do whatever I wanted to do career wise and still have a family. I think it was her influence that encouraged me to pursue a legal career but ask for a flexible work schedule even as I became a partner in a law firm. I am so thankful for my strong and loving grandmother, Margaret.


    1. She sounds like a wonderful person. She certainly had a positive influence on who you became. Thanks so much for sharing. Barbara


  7. This is a great question for me to ponder. I know my mom was very influential, however, I lost her when i was in my early 40’s — I am strong because of her. She was firm, loving and full of spirit. I am surrounded by strong, loving woman for sure who inspire me and encourage me like none other. For that I am grateful.


    1. Natalie it’s a real blessing when we’ve had mothers who were a strong influence on our lives. But whether our mother stays with us a long or short time our lives continue to be enriched by the strong, influential women we meet along the way. Thank you for sharing yours with us.


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