We are all “influencers.” What we do, say, and support makes a difference. Sometimes the effects happen in the home, school, community, region, or beyond.

The other day, my thirteen-year-old son spotted his older cousin while we were driving to school. “Look Mom, he’s wearing a helmet and using the crosswalk!” Yep, I thought: INFLUENCER! Here was a high schooler making a good impression on his younger cousin by safely biking to school.

Let Us Consider

These days, we tend to refer to paid celebrities as social influencers. Sure, some of them have established credibility, so they might persuade shoppers to purchase products, and this prestige can work for promotional purposes, including important causes. But role models come in all shapes and sizes.

Ordinary people can make an impact, too. Every historical movement and generation had its share of inspiring influencers—long before social media.

The reality is “average” individuals possess the power of influence, too, even IRL. This especially applies to parents.


Sadly, I lost my mom this fall. In thinking back about her life, I realize she motivated me to take a genuine interest in people and try to make friends and family feel special by remembering birthdays, celebrating milestones, buying thoughtful gifts, making phone calls, sending cards, or simply serving someone’s favorite snack. She also encouraged me to have fun, garden, eat fresh food, and cook savory recipes. In these ways (and more), she leaves a legacy.

Cinematic Impacts

Of course, stories (fact and fiction) hold the potential to influence audiences as well. Recently, I attended the annual Ojai Film Festival which features independent and cultural videos from around the world. I went for the screening of Common Ground, an educational documentary about regenerative agriculture, nutritional food, chemical exposure, climate change, soil health, and environmental issues. The movie was produced by local parents, and Moms Across America were represented in the variety of viewpoints conveyed. Seeing that footage influenced my grocery shopping choices the following week!

Speaking of hopeful nature shows, have you and yours watched The Biggest Little Farm? The documentary spotlights a sustainable and biodiverse farm right here in Ventura County (Moorpark, California)! This flick is also eye-opening, and the animals pictured are heart-warming. Both of these films bring awareness and attention to timely topics.

Reflection, Application, and Extension

Who and what have left a mark on you? Maybe family members, bosses, teachers, coaches, creatives, authors, civic leaders, artists…books, movies, experiences?

As we approach the new year and resolve to do and be better, consider who you might influence (hopefully for the better). Where can you nurture growth and guide younger relatives? How can you utilize your specialty knowledge and insights to make positive changes—socially, academically, domestically, locally, nationally, or globally?

“Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.” – George Eliot

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Tamara Miller Davis
Tamara Miller Davis is an author, mother of two kidz with Z names, pet owner, fire captain's wife, substitute teacher, parent club volunteer, dance enthusiast, and U.S. Coast Guard veteran from Michigan. Tamara published her debut book "Despite the Buzz" in 2021. The colorful novel is a cautionary tale about tech's influence. She is a member of other local writing groups: the Writers and Publishers Network and Ojai Poetry Series. Tamara enjoys reading, rollerblading, downhill skiing, boogie boarding, biking, tubing, kayaking, walking her dog, listening to podcasts, traveling, going to concerts, supporting causes, and finding common ground with a variety of people. She also likes making lists. Tamara appreciates this quote from Stephen King's memoir "On Writing": "You must not come lightly to the blank page."


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