Friday, May 15, 2009

the influence of others in our lives

So, I have apparently been in a bit of a reflective mood the last while. First with the Tribute to my Mom. And now an article I read on a website I frequent has me thinking about some of the people who had an influence on my life when I went to summer camp as a kid. So, let the reflecting continue . . .

I have many memories of summer camp and the fun that I had (at least most of the time). I remember games, activities, skills, crazy skits, crafts, all other kind of fun . . . but what I remember most are some of the counsellors I had in my cabins. They were very often the people who made that week at camp each summer so good. They always seemed to know just when to have fun and act crazy, and when to be serious. And I didn't doubt that they were glad I was there that week.

Over nine summers as a camper, I had a few different counsellors, or cabin leaders as they were called in the later years of my time at camp. Some of them I remember more than others. I considered it a privilege to have been camp staff for a summer with some of them when I became too old to go to camp and was on staff for three summers. It was the amazing cabin leaders I had when I was a camper that made me want to be camp staff myself and showed me the kind of cabin leader I wanted to be when I was one. And, working as camp staff for a few summers also gave me a new appreciation for the love they had shown me when I was a camper. It's a tiring job to be camp staff . . . but also rewarding to see campers grow over the years they return or when you run into them in years after camp and hear a bit about their lives since camp.

As I've thought more about this, I've realized that all through-out our lives we meet people and interact with them for short periods, or longer times, and they can have a huge impact on our lives. We may not even realize it at the time. It may take us years to truly recognize the influence they had on our lives - whether good or bad. And I guess that means we have that same kind of influence on the lives of those we interact with.

What kind of an influence are we having on people? Depending on the situation, the amount of influence we have on others may change, but we have influence on people. What kind of influence do we want to have? Who are the people who you are glad have been in your life - either in the past, or who are in your life now? What kind of influence are you having on people in your life now?

These are just some of the questions that are running through my head right now as I reflect on some of the camp counsellors I was privileged to have in my years as a camper. They may never know the impact they made, but they made one. And we have that same ability in our lives today.

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