This was brought to my attention several days ago. My cousin, Greg, who is two years younger than me, and who grew up just down the road from me and my family, and went to the same schools as me and my siblings, is my "cool" cousin. He has that laid back, easy going personality that makes it easy (at least in my mind) for him to make friends. He's always been in the "in" crowd, is an athlete, drives cool cars, has a beautiful family (a wife and two sons). In many respects, I believe he is living the American Dream. He's doing things right.
After being tagged in a "thankfulness challenge" on Facebook by my aunt, in which I was asked to share three things I am thankful for each day for five days, I tagged several people, including Greg, to also do it. Greg took me up on it, and posted his own list of things he's thankful for, and the first thing he mentioned was me. I'm sharing what he wrote as a point of comparison, not because I want to show off: "I'm thankful for my cousin, Eric. I don't get to see him or talk to him much, but he is an inspirational guy, nonetheless. Facebook has allowed me to watch him and his wonderful daughter live their lives to the fullest. You can't get any more "all-American" than him. There are times when I get away from my priorities and he is a reminder of how it should be....God, Family, Friends."
First of all, I thanked him profusely for his kind words. I was and am completely overwhelmed by them. Second, it's really ironic how similar we feel about each other. And while we aren't necessarily seeing each other on any kind of regular basis, we are able to track each other's happenings through Facebook, which is a wonderful tool for staying in touch with loved ones, and it has assisted us in coming to these conclusions. It's true, it is based on what we perceive, but I believe those perceptions are rooted in reality.
My point in sharing this is to show how much of an influence you can be based on your words and actions. If you choose to be positive and live a good and faithful life, I'm convinced other people will notice, and perhaps they will do the same. If you are negative, it's easy for others to be influenced by these negatives. I see it happen at my job all the time. Employees seem to want to reflect the way management acts, and that's a bad thing if it's all negative.
My faith is such a great part of my life, and is the most important thing. I try to live my life in the way God and Jesus instruct us. It's not easy, certainly. That's why we're human. But if we strive to live by Jesus' teachings, I believe we will feel rewarded. And it can't help but influence others, in some way, if they're watching. This may be a simple thing, but I think it can be a big deal.
I'm honored that my cousin, Greg, has such a positive outlook, and his kind words struck a chord in me, just as I do about him. I think that's pretty awesome.
I hope you have a great Holiday weekend!