Do you ever take time to consider who it is that has affected you the most in your life? Who helped you become who you are today? Who do you model yourself after?
For most people when you think about that question I am sure the first stop is at parents. I am not different. I was fortunate to have a father who was a very hard worker. We were a big family. I am the oldest of five children. My mom stayed at home to take care of us. Because of this my dad had to work a lot of extra hours to make sure we could do all the activities we wanted to do and still make sure all the other bills were paid. He also set a great example of showing that if something was worth doing it was worth doing right. Probably the biggest thing I learned from him was my sense of loyalty. I am a very loyal person, to people, to causes, even to sports teams. After all, I am a Bengals fan, sure isn’t because of all the championships they have won! I think this sense of loyalty was instill by something he told me when I was young. My first year of tee ball the team I was on was horrible. We may have won 1 or 2 games if that. The following year when it came time to sign up I said I wanted to be on a different team. He asked why and I said it was because the team the previous year was horrible. He asked me how I would felt if my favorite baseball player at the time, Johnny Bench, would say he wanted to switch teams because the Reds had been horrible. I ended up playing on the same team the following year and we were one of the better teams in the league. I think we only lost 1 game and I ended up going to the All Star team. Never again have I considered jumping ship because the going was not good.
Another person who helped shape who I am was a second grade teacher I had, Mrs. Worst. Ironic name for a teacher who I consider to be the best I had! She was my reading teacher in the second grade. Up until that point I never really cared much for school. But that all changed in second grade. Mrs. Worst took an interest in who I was. I found out we had liked the same sports teams. We talked sports and what happened in the games. She is also the person who I give credit for showing me that reading was fun. I ended up liking school and education so much that from second grade through my senior year in high school I had perfect attendance every year. One year I remember my siblings all came down with the chicken pox around Thanksgiving. I was deathly afraid I was going to catch them and have to miss school. I ended up getting a very light case of them. Not enough to make me feel bad but I did have some on my arms. I purposely wore long sleeve shirts the the couple of days I had school and was afraid someone would see them and try to send me home. I made it though without missing any days. That love of education saw me complete my bachelors degree, even having to finish some classes after my daughter was born meaning I would go to work, then to class 3-4 nights a week and not get time to see my daughter. I even occasionally consider going back for a further degree, but at this point it will be after my daughter gets older if I do.
My wife is another person who had shaped who I am. I tell her all the time she is my hero. She thinks I am being silly. But it’s true. Regardless of what happens, what hardships or heartaches she faces, she just keeps going. Sure, disappointment may set in, but when the easy answer would be to give up she continues to charge head first into whatever comes her way. Nothing keeps her down or stops her when she has her mind set on doing something. Whenever I need motivation with trying to complete a difficult talk I simply look at her example and tell myself if she can do it then I am going to do it as well.
My daughter also molds me. I watch her and see how she takes such joy in simple things. It teaches me that in our hectic world we need to take time to remember so slow down and enjoy the things in front of us. It’s easy to be so preoccupied with to do lists and the business of the world that we miss the important things. I often tell my daughter she has made me miss a ton of football over the last almost 5 years. But I would not go back and change it. The football games will be there every year, other things such as her being a child will not be. Being her father has changed my priorities. I still record my favorite teams games and watch them later after she is in bed but I miss a lot of the other games which I used to consider “must see” games.
All these people have changed me for the better. They have modeled me and shaped me into who I am today. They may not have realized it but I am thankful for them every day. They are just some of the more important people God has put in my path in my life for a very important reason. I only hope that I can have the same impact on someone else that they have had on me.
Who are the people who have influenced you the most?