Bible teacher, author, and pastor, Chuck Swindoll, has said, “Admiration (influence) – It can neither be purchased nor inherited. Slowly, almost unawares, admiration becomes the carbon paper that transfers character qualities by the rubbing of one life against another.”
Each one of us has been influenced by another person – either for good or for bad. I can attest to this fact as I consider my life's path. Raised in Northern Illinois by godly parents who knew the importance of regular church involvement and understood that the Bible was God's authority for life, I grew to know about the Lord. My parents placed a high value on displaying Christ through their lives. This influenced my spiritual formation. In the middle of my sixth grade year, Dad announced that he was retiring from the jewelry business that he had owned and operated for many years, and that we were moving to a new city allowing him to take a position with Chrysler. I recall that this move was quite traumatic in my life as a 12 year old boy who had recently made the final cut on the elementary school's basketball team. However, a caring and loving sixth grade teacher took me under her wing and encouraged me in my transition. This influenced my growing confidence.
At age 19, I recognized my genuine need as a sinner (Romans 3:23) and the true importance of placing my faith in Christ (Romans 10:13 & John 3:16). This decision influenced my love for God. During this period of my life, a caring church youth pastor was instrumental in discipling me in what it meant to be a follower of Christ. This influenced my love for God's Word. While attending a Christian college, a literature professor took a special interest in both my and my wife’s spiritual and professional life. This relationship led to being colaborers together in our first teaching opportunity with a Christian school. This influenced my love for our Christian education and confirmed my commitment to teach children.
Many years later and three degrees in education (BS Elementary Education, M.Ed. in Educational Administration, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership), I have been privileged to serve in various aspects of Christian education. These years of experience have influenced my commitment to Christ-centered education with excellence. I believe in its biblical foundation and its vital importance in the changing of lives for each generation of young people.
My wife, Sue, and I have two children: Matthew is grown and lives in Northern Kentucky where he is grounded in a local church and works as an IT problem solver for a well respected corporation. Mackenzie is a 2015 alumna of Northside Christian School. These special people have influenced my commitment to being a godly husband and father. Truly, the importance of who we surround ourselves with does make a difference.
May Paul's statement in Philippians 3:17 be our life mantra when he states, “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” NIV