In friendships, as well as, in families, we tend to migrate to our favorite members since people often pair with like minded people. When I think about a favorite relative I am hard pressed to name one over another. It’s actually easier to name the one (or ones) I would choose to avoid!
I have an aunt I lost many years ago, who I positively treasured. Those who have followed my blog for a while know my background is Amish. While I wasn’t raised in this tradition, since my mother left the Amish before I was born, my mom still has many relatives who do follow this faith. Her sisters are amazing with a very peaceful and loving attitude. One, I had the joy of spending a summer with was very small, with a great sense of humor, a great cook (which most Amish women can claim!), and an attitude of love, peace, kindness and joy that just seemed to radiate through everything she said or did!
While she was not the ‘Older Order Amish’ many of my family still is, she did carry on the faith as a Mennonite. What I remember, as much as anything however, was listening to her early morning prayers as she knelt beside the bedside. This behavior was the model of the woman I wanted to be!
We all have an impact on people and sometimes we don’t even realize it. It may be something as specific as what I recall from my childhood from my aunt, or it may be something as small as a smile to a passerby who is having a bad day. It might be a teacher who made a profound impact, a coach or other mentor you happen to know. One such mentor has been described as a “father” even though the man had a good relationship with his biological father. In his mind, due to the relationship and impact made, the man considers both men, as fathers!
The impacts can be negative, as well. If a child is witness to cruelty and abuse it’s likely to affect nearly everything in their life. They will either reproduce the behavior or they will be paranoid about not duplicating it. In either case, the stress level is high. Other situations can also carry on negativity such as being bullied at school or cheated in some way. In these circumstances it’s often even more important to find and have someone who is a positive role model.
So I challenge you to consider who has had an impact on your life. Is there someone, perhaps a relative such as mine, who made a profound difference in your life? Is your life so ordered that the impact you make on others is positive and good, or might a change of direction be best, both for yourself and those you would emulate you?