by Molly Audiss

In preparation for a college class I am teaching this fall, in which I will be teaching future teachers how to be teachers, I asked by sons this morning, on the ride to school, what fond memories they have of things their teachers have done in the classroom. Both of my sons recalled illustrations of things they enjoyed doing in grade school (especially recess!) One of the fond memories they explained surprised me. They each had the same teacher when they were in 4th grade, and she was a favorite to both boys. They explained that all of the students in class had “jobs” each week. The classroom chores were written on laminated sheets on the back wall, and the students’ name were placed next to a duty and rotated each week. One son said that everyone wanted to have the job of carrying out the trash. The other son remembered that cleaning the chalkboard was the favorite job.

I was shocked! I tried not to appear shocked, but simply thinking about the absolute GENIUS of a teacher who can make class chores seem so fun that kids are fighting over which one they get to do- Amazing! No one is fighting over who gets to take out the trash at home! 😂 Years later my sons fondly remember the chore list on the back wall and how much they looked forward to that time in class.

This is a wonderful illustration of training attitudes. One person with the proper perspective and positive attitude can help an entire classroom full of students desire to do tasks that they would not normally enjoy. There is so much power in the right influence! In a similar way, I have seen my sons’ coaches get them to willingly do very difficult, demanding physical tasks, such as exercising, running, eating healthy, etc. Boys will do just about anything to please a coach who has their best interests at heart. They will give every last once of energy to accomplish and achieve for that coach.

You may think, “I am not a teacher or a coach. What does this have to do with me?” Well, Friend, you have the same power that any beloved teach and coach possesses- the power of influence. The gift of influence has to be one of the most precious gifts that God has ever given mankind. It is more valuable than wealth. You cannot buy this gift, but that’s alright because YOU ALREADY OWN IT! You may not feel that you have it, but you do. I am simply writing today to remind you. You may not have used your influence lately. I encourage you to remember where you put it, take it out, polish it up, realize its value, and USE IT!

Ladies, we have within ourselves the power to influence others, and we can use it daily, multiple times a day. How many times have you heard a famous person, a President, an athlete, a famous preacher or scientist tell of their childhood and how they got to the place they are in life, and they ALWAYS name a person? Yes. It was always an influential person. Often a mom or dad, a teacher, a Sunday school, or a coach. They set the course for another to succeed in life in a great way.

There is someone reading this who feels today that they don’t matter. You wonder if your life has any purpose. You are in the shadows, unknown, and you just don’t feel that you have ever or will ever do anything that makes a difference. May I tell you, sweet friend, you have influence!

Your smile, your kind word, your prayer, your small gift, your presence, your example, your faithfulness, your character— all of these carry weight with those around you. Please don’t feel that you cannot contribute because you don’t have the “larger than life” personality, the newest clothes, the most money. You can say the thing, at the right moment, that could change a life forever. Your prayer may make all the difference to someone you love. You have the influence to change the course of history! Wake up each morning aware of the powerful gift you possess. Use it wisely. Someday in Heaven your influence may be known to all. Your life counts! Your influence is so very powerful.