Positive Influence

I am thankful the boys with whom I have worked and played over the years. I have been a Scout leader, youth leader, youth pastor, camp leader, therapist…

There is something in me that resonates with mentoring. Giving boys/young men a bit of a boost. Or a hug. Or a boot in the backside (almost always figuratively speaking…) Whatever it was they needed for the time we walked the same path in life.

I am most thankful for the times “my boys” contact me for whatever reason. It’s an indicator that I might have had a positive influence on them. It’s not something I’ve ever taken lightly. Most of the time, I can only pray that I’m hitting the first line of the Hippocratic Oath: “At least do no harm.” You just never know how an off-hand remark, made without any thought whatsoever, strikes someone the wrong way and sticks. Or the carefully crafted answer that is so completely off base it hurts your brain to think about it–that also misses the mark.

You do your best with what you have at the time and do lots of praying.

OK, at least that’s what I do. Sadly, it hasn’t always worked.

I have been particularly blessed, since, from the contacts that I have had thus far, it seems that it has worked a lot more often than not. All I can say is: God is good. And it’s good that I’m His favorite too.

It is especially gratifying when they tell me the kind of impact/influence I had/am having on them. Not that it happens often. Guys generally aren’t talkers to begin with, and folks generally are busy dealing with whatever they’re dealing with in their lives.

Yes, this post was prompted by such a contact. A young man I knew only for a week at a summer camp, but he remembered I am into languages and contacted me to ask for some advice. Nothing particularly earth shattering, or even life changing.

“Just” very gratifying that this young man remembered.



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