If you were to name three people in your life who influenced you the most by their consistent example, who would they be? Here’s mine:
The first was my maternal grandmother, probably the godliest person I’ve ever known, and consistently the happiest and most positive. She saw good in everyone she met, especially children and youth. Her mission in life was to encourage them to develop that goodness, and I happened to be one of the recipients of her consummate encouragement.
Then there was the pastor of our church when I was in high school. What a special gift he had for using humor and wit to connect with people, young and old, and through that leading them closer to God. Once, though, he shared with some of us how at a young age he had left home to join the Navy in an attempt to run away from God. No good came of that as he got caught up gambling, drinking, and getting in fights. I ran away from God, too, eventually and in my own way. But it was my former pastor’s ever present influence that kept nagging at me to return – as he had done – which sooner or later I did.
Finally, my junior high school principle and teacher. He could handle any kid in any classroom in any situation, stern enough to command order and respect yet laced with just enough humor that you had to love him. And everyone did! He was my friend, mentor and advisor for years, long after I was grown and left home, and except for an untimely death might still be. He was the most non-judgmental listener I’ve ever known.
I’ve had other great role models, but these are the three who always come to mind first, and although each one influenced me in a different way they all had one thing in common – they were the real deal, and they walked the walk.
So, as you ponder the three people who influenced you the most here’s a challenge for you – and for me. Suppose we turn the question around this way: On how many other people’s lists would your name (or mine) appear if they were asked the same question? Are you the real deal, do you walk the walk? Am I, do I? Spend some time in front of the mirror this week thinking about that one!