I have been thinking about how we become who we are. What people make an impact on us? What moments change and mold us? What words stick with us? Who were the people who shaped the world for us?
I grew up in Christian home and my parents were very involved in our church. All my life I have had a church 'family' that played as big a role in my life as my biological family did. I have always appreciated these extra adults in my life. Their wisdom, love and patience saw me through my childhood, those awkward teen years and into adulthood. I still rely on many of those people to help me navigate my way as a wife and mother. And in turn I now find myself influencing the lives of the next generation.
I'd like to think that I am a positive influence all the time but let's be realistic. I am a flawed person with a short temper and a sharp wit...not always a great combination. But I will say this I have always been keenly aware of how much power words hold. I have had people in my past who have encouraged and empowered me just with their words and I have known people who have in an instant of carelessness have bruised my heart and crushed my dreams. Its just that easy to build up or tear down when you are speaking to a child.
"Excellent!" And self esteem rises.
"Stupid!" And the heart cracks.
And once spoken words cannot be taken back. You can apologize and work to repair the damage but that word is always there...floating around the periphery of your relationship. Even as you mature into adulthood sometimes those harshly spoken words of your childhood can creep up on you and open a wound you thought long healed.
On the flip side of this are the good, kind and uplifting words that were spoken to you as you grew. Those are like little gems that gleam and shimmer in the corner of your mind as you enbark on a new project, tkae a leap of faith in business or put your talent to a new test. Those are the words we pull front and center when we are feeling weak or discouraged. It is those words spoken by that person who cared that can carry you through or push you forward.
It is those words and those people who I want to celebrate this week. Stop in every day this week as I honour five of the most influential people of my childhood.
And think about the people you have shaped and encouraged you...