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The Power of Influence

School begins this month! Where did the summer go? Of
course, summer breaks are much shorter than when I was growing up. We let out
around Memorial Day and didn’t return until after Labor Day. Summer seemed to
last forever.

With the return of school, I’ve reflected some on my own growing
up. Now with some years on me I can really see how true it is that “well
begun is half done”
. I was blessed
to attend an excellent elementary school in a suburb of Minneapolis. I’m so
glad my family moved there. I had terrific teachers and classmates.

The atmosphere of my elementary school was one of a love of
learning, and that’s no exaggeration. I knew my teachers loved knowledge and
loved teaching, and many of my classmates came from families that valued a good
education. I know my present-day love of learning came from those early
influences
.

On the spiritual side, I was blessed by seeds that were
planted early in my life. When I was young my family had the practice of
daily devotions
. We’d do them before going to bed. My mother subscribed to
a monthly children’s devotional called “Bread for Children”. I can still see
the back page which had four memory verses. One for each week of the month.
It was then that I learned to memorize Bible verses
. Someone also gave us a
set of children’s missionary stories titled “Aunt Vera’s Bedtime
Stories”. These stories opened me up to a world beyond the United States and taught
me of God’s love for all people
.

My mother would also read to us various children’s books. I
especially remember the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder about pioneer life in
Wisconsin and Minnesota. My mother was also very strict about our TV watching. We
were to only watch shows that promoted good values
, which usually meant
only “The Waltons” or “Little House on the Prairie”.

On top of this, I would add the exposure to the Christian
families at church
. I was blessed with numerous people who were interested
in me and expressed Christian love towards me.

I can see now how truly blessed I was and am. We were by no
means a wealthy family, but the seeds sown in those early years have certainly brought
compounding returns, and I am who I am today because of where I began.

All this to say, parents, grandparents, relatives, friends,
teachers, neighbors, you all are an important influence on the children in
your life
! Make the most this time when they’re young! Plant good seeds in
their hearts!

May the beginning of a new school year prompt you to renew
your commitment to give your kids a good education and also
a good spiritual foundation. If you haven’t been doing so, consider a
nightly devotion
. I recommend “Little Visits with God” and “Little Visits
with Jesus”. Make sure your kids are in Sunday School and church. Watch
the things that influence them.

I can testify that it’s worth all the hard work. As the
proverb says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 ESV).

Blessings for a new school year!

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