Do You Know Your Ripple Effect?

My wife and I were down visiting our daughter at Indiana University in Bloomington Indiana for Dads Weekend. iutailgate2015We had a blast getting to know her friends and their parents and just hanging out with our daughter seeing her spread her wings.  Early on my wife and I decided to put some guardrails in place to help us be the best parents we could be and allow our daughters to grow in as safe of an environment they could be.  Nothing is perfect, certainly not me but understanding the ripple effect and seeing how it impacts families, friends, friends of friends, and communities is really neat to see.

Formally the ripple effect is “the continuing and spreading of results of an event or action”.  Now I know and you know that raising kids, influencing friends and family is not a single event or action.  It is a series of events that it takes to influence anyone.  It seems to be getting easier and harder at the same time.  It seems easier because of technology and the ease of using devices to text, FaceTime, skype, etc. to maintain relationships.  It’s harder because you lose the personal touch and the awkward silent time to see facial and body reactions of a particular conversation.

How are you doing in your relationships?

  • Are they too social media based?
  • Are they too technology based?
  • Are they mostly spur of the moment gatherings with no planning?

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, but it can have some serious relational effects on our generation and the upcoming for sure. I was talking with my daughter’s boyfriend and we were discussing how I didn’t grow up with a mobile phone. He asked, how did you coordinate hanging out with your buddies? My response was – “you were where you were supposed to be at the time you said you were going to be there”. He acted surprised and it actually made me reflect on the accountability that was in play before mobile phones and technology.

Something to keep an eye on is how you are using technology, how it is affecting your relationships, and the ripple effect those relationship have with the people close and far from you.

Action Items

  • Reflect on your use of your technology for relationships. It’s not all bad.
  • Do you physically shake hands or hug the people you really care about or send them a text.
  • Try to call a person vs. text for a change.
  • With the immediate family – ensure you are consistent with:
    • Date nights with your spouse
    • Date nights with your children, or if you are in our situation – intentional trips to share time together.

Good Luck – Remember you don’t plan to fail, you fail to plan.