You can’t light another’s path without casting light on you own – John C
Growing up, we pick up on things from the people who we are constantly exposed to; our parents, our teachers, our friends, relatives and neighbors and their influence on us is built into our characters. The power of influence is more of an issue for teenagers because that is when our characters and ideals begin to form and it is open to tempering, it is that part of our lives that really shapes who and what we become so the personalities we grow up around have a direct impact on how we turn out..
As teenagers or adults (Adults are still greatly influence by their friends and their environment), we look up to the role models in our lives and we try to follow in their footsteps.
Influence is simply put; Being who you are (leading by example). It is an unconscious intent, we never really know who is looking up to us and how our negative or positive idiosyncrasy is impacting them so the only really choice we have in the matter is whether our influence is good or bad.
Back when I taught the Children/Teenager Sunday School Class, I constantly shared my hopes and aspirations with them, giving them a real life example of how to shoot for the moon and walk the talk. Few years past and most of my students were ready to go to the university and decide who they wanted to be and half of my class aspired to be lawyers (Just like me), the other half aspired for something else but they sought my opinion on what I would do if I had the same aspirations as them.
I shared my most profound dreams with them, I taught them to be good and to work hard. The same thing happened with the students I taught during my NYSC program. I never really expected that they would consider me fit to be their role model, and although it gladden the heart, it makes you really conscious of what you do because you have young minds looking up to you; failure wasn’t an option.
The power of influence is too strong for us to ignore. The choice you have to make is whether you want to be a source of positive or negative influence. As an older brother/sister, your siblings look up to you for inspiration, you look up to your parents and the big-minded people around you, it’s a never-ending cycle of influence and there’s a strong pull towards a particular kind of influence when someone we love is involved.
Everything we do has an impact; it’s an interconnect world so our influence on one person impacts all the people who that person will ever meet and every person he/she impacts, impacts millions, so our actions and our words should be chosen carefully because…our actions are examples laid down for others and our words are charged with everlasting power.
The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively – Bob Marley
The power of influence also has an impact on our lives as believers, there’s a very popular verse in the bible that actually explains this; Evil communication corrupts good manners (1 Corinthians 15:33). Everyone aspires to be a source of positive influence, which is why I’m going in the positive direction.
It’s understandable that believers are overly confident that keeping unbelievers as friends will not affect their stand in Christ, they believe they will turn their friends from sin, they believe they are above sin, it’s normal and expected. What they fail to understand is that temptation to sin has a certain pull. Temptations to sin are so strong that even the strongest of saints will stray if they constantly expose themselves to sin.
No matter how prudent you are in Christ, be not deceive, Evil communication corrupts good manners. Not can, not might, evil communication will corrupt good manners because it is very easy to fall prey to sin so when you become a believer, cut yourself from the things of the flesh (from the unbelievers in your life regardless of how much you love them) and dwell in the congregation of the brethren (Vultures don’t fly with eagles).
The choice is yours. But, choose to be a source of positive influence, flee from temptation and look to Jesus as the only source of influence and inspiration. Shield your children from negative influence and considering that you cannot always help them, teach them. Understand that your examples have an immortal momentum, We are All Influencers, before you take that leap, before your choose that line of action or response, understand that a whole generation is looking up to you.
Influence is influence, whether it’s good or bad. An acquaintance made this argument recently and although he’s right, it is really wrong to have a mind-set like this. It reminds me of this; all publicity is good publicity, there’s no such thing as bad press. You see how this is wrong right?
There are so many sources of negative and positive influence. Apparently, negativity and evil have the upper hand in our society but so many great people have been able to take their stand in the circle of positive influence so honestly, we have no excuse.
Choose to be a force of positive influence, help the teens in the society understand the need to learn from the positive influencers in their lives and discard the negativity around them and be mindful of the energy you expose them to. In the end, the source of influence has a constant presence in ones’ life; if it’s good, keep it, if it’s bad…well, cut it out (After all, if your right arm should cause you to sin, you should cut it out…metaphorically speaking).