Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

P Publisher’s Point by Jean Loxley-Barnard
Absolute Power


The two thoughts that usually come to mind with the words absolute power are the Clint Eastwood movie about a President who commits murder and the saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I have another view and it is close to home.

How much power do I have and how do I use it? It is a question we can all ask ourselves.

In business there are 17 of us in the office plus freelancers. Decisions I make affect one or all of us at any given time. The responsibility of that is weighty. Decisions that affect even one other person must be made with great care; the more impact a decision will have, the more caution that is required.

I've made decisions to cover 100% of medical premiums and I've made decisions to let people go. Both popular and traumatic decisions impact me as well as those who are affected. Few decisions are made easily. The trick is to make them with awareness and great care.

How would I feel if I were on the receiving end of this decision? Have I weighed the pluses and minuses? Is this a fair decision? Would it pass the Rotary's Four Way Test? What would change my decision or postpone it? All these questions are best answered as completely as possible, preferably with input from others with perhaps different perspectives.

Having the power
to do something
doesn't make it right.

How often do we use power correctly? It is not only in business where power can be used correctly or not. At home parents can show children how to use power wisely or how to misuse it. Teachers, politicians, spouses all use power of many kinds. Harry Blevins, who has been all of these, comes to mind as an example of someone who has used his power as a teacher/coach/principal, a state senator, and a husband/father so wisely over many decades that he is respected and beloved, purely and simply, by all who know him.

Whether power is exercised politically, emotionally, financially, physically - overtly or subtly - exercising power has long-lasting implications.

I know the power of the press, for instance, and am committed to use it for the higher good. It has been tempting from time to time to stray from that policy but it is essential to stay on course.

My Dad used to say, "I wish I were a judge" whenever he was particularly distressed at someone. I know he was a fair man but I also knew he wanted "to get even" from time to time. Haven't we all? The more power we can exercise, the more important it is to be aware of those feelings and keep ourselves in check.

If we consider how much power we have, we can plan to use it wisely, kindly - even pray for some Divine Guidance to do so. Everyone has power.

My grandson is six foot, athletic and handsome. He is kind to the young children who take to him like a pied piper and he is gracious to the legions of young ladies who smile his way.

Ruby Farrow is a resident at Sentara Village and spends every available moment making lovely gifts for nurses, residents and friends' children. She finds joy everywhere and has a constant attitude of gratitude. She was chosen recently as their Resident of the Month. Logan is 15 and Ruby 83.

Each has the power to influence those around them. The rest of us can examine what kind of power we wield and use it to make a difference in our own way.

Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.