When I first started thinking about this writing prompt I was a little stumped. In recent years I have surrounded myself with some amazing women. I’ve been in Bible studies with them, mom groups, tennis teams, authors of books I’ve read. I could think of a vast number of women I admire. It took a little more time for my mind to think about the men in my life and how they have impacted me. I enjoyed the challenge and what I recalled from thinking about influences in my life.
1) My father
I initially felt that this was pretty cliche, but the longer I’ve lived the more I’ve learned that there are a lot of people who did not grow up with fathers who loved, encouraged, supported and invested in them. It seems like a given to me because that was my experience but I am not necessarily the norm. I have a lot of fond memories of my father. I remember playing in his workshop with wood, nails and hammers while he worked on his own project. The smell of sawdust transports me back to his workshop. He didn’t seem to mind me being in there. He would let my friends and I work on projects in there (we attempted to make a boat for our pond but it was not even close to water-tight and turned into a dock). I remember riding on our riding lawnmower with him (and eventually being given the job of official lawn mower). I remember him cheering me on at my sporting events. He was a vocal supporter. I remember having a father-daughter date when I was visiting home from college. I asked him some personal questions that made him squirm a bit (probably fear that being flawed would remove his hero status – not true). I always felt secure in his love. My dad taught me that I am important, worthy of his time and support, and worth showing up for.
|He still has this Christmas shirt I made him in elementary school!|
2) My husband
It is possibly also cliche that I find my husband worthy of admiration but I really don’t care. He is a wonderful man, a hard worker, a loving husband and father. I admire his dedication to integrity at work and home. I appreciate his love, support and encouragement. I love his heart for serving and helping others. I could gush forever but I’ll keep it short and sweet. Among countless other things, he has taught me that I don’t have to do it all and that it’s okay to ask for help.
3) My high school youth pastor
I loved my high school youth pastor and his wife. They were so open and honest. They weren’t afraid of sharing their mistakes because they were secure in God’s love for them and hoped their testimony would prevent us from making the same mistakes. My affection for them probably increased because of their authenticity and vulnerability. He taught me that my mistakes do not make me ineffective for God. Redemption is available and God can still be honored and glorified through my life. I think he (and his wife) also planted the seed that has enabled me to be honest and vulnerable because of personal experience of how it encourages and can be an example for others.
4) My grandfather
For nearly all of my remembered life (ages 3+) my family lived away from our extended family. Nearly every summer my brother and I would fly out to Oregon to visit our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We always had a blast spending time with everyone and enjoying the moderate climate of the pacific northwest. I have a lot of fond memories of staying at my grandparents’ farm. We would catch grasshoppers to feed the chickens, pick produce, throw apples to the deer, catch cabbage moths to earn nickels, pick “puff balls” off of the oak trees, swim in the creek and shoot hoops on the side of the barn. I remember bumping around the grounds with Grandpa in his old red truck, learning square dancing basics, playing memory math games and lots of card games. My grandfather taught me that math is fun and working hard is worthwhile.
5) My friend’s husband
I haven’t really spent a lot of time with the husbands of my friends but, for a while, I was part of a prayer group that was hosted at my friend’s house and had a four-person core group (two of which were my friend and her husband). We all learned a lot about one another and enjoyed praying for one another, our church and whatever else was mentioned each meeting. Also, being friends for quite a few years I learned a lot about my friend’s husband through my friend. I have been impressed by his obedience and faithfulness to God and his desire to honor God in all circumstances and areas of his life. His love for God and his family is evident to all. He diligently serves others with his abilities. If he can help you, he will. My friend’s husband has helped teach me the power of prayer, the importance of obedience and trust in God in all circumstances, and the joy of using your gifts and abilities to serve others and glorify God.
There are more men I could have mentioned as having influenced my life. I hope that you will think about those in your life who influence you positively and, perhaps, reach out them and let them know that you appreciate them.