In today’s culture, we hear a lot of talk about being an influencer. Some kids (not all, of course) don’t necessarily want to work at anything – they want to create their podcast or YouTube channel and influence others – whether that’s about shopping, sports, fashion, makeup, music, etc… Doesn’t really matter.
I was thinking about the culture of “influence” late last night. I couldn’t get to sleep, so I turned on a podcast I sometimes listen to. The host was interviewing a young Christian couple who have only been married a little over a year. They told how they were planning to quit their jobs and start a YouTube channel where they can influence others toward having a godly marriage. Although they’ve been through some semi-hard experiences in the time they’ve been together and did support each other well, I had to smile.A year of marriage does not equal enough experience to quit your day jobs and become marriage “influencers.”
Then I had another thought – now if the two people above wanted to do a YouTube channel influencing couples on a good marriage, I would definitely listen.
Because they are celebrating 73 years of marriage this week!!!!!!!
This is Gene (98) and Barbara Weddle (94) and they are my inlaws. I know that THEY could be good marriage influencers because I have known them for all but the first 20 years of my life and have observed that marriage.
You can start with the love letters written when Gene was serving in World War II and Barbara anxiously waited for him. (They were not yet married.) The grandkids and great grandkids have all had the privilege of reading those letters and imagining Grandpa and Grandma as young kids, looking toward their futures. (Let’s just say they expressed themselves well in their writing.) They will tell you how she made the out-of-her-comfort-zone move away from her beloved Cape Cod to the landlocked country of southwest Pennsylvania. (She’s kept her New England accent on purpose and still misses the ocean.) They will tell you how he started calling her Honey Bunch and over the years that has morphed into simply “Bunch.” They will tell you how the friend at work (Gene was an electrician at a glass factory), started telling him about the Bible and how eventually, the entire family came to know the Lord. (The kids were in elementary school at that time.)
That’s what they’d tell you, but there’s the other part – the part they haven’t SAID but I’ve simply observed.
I know they love the Lord and have always served Him well, continuing to be active in the church where they are charter members.
I know they raised two good kids (and I’m so thankful for that).
I know they don’t criticize each other but treat each other with respect and kindness.
I know that they support and are proud of each other.
I know that they look at life with a crazy sense of humor. (Case in point – that they wanted to hold a stuffed fish when I took this picture last fall. For no reason, just because and it was there.)
Yes, these are people who are good marriage influencers and they have the record to prove it. Seventy-three years is more than most of us have been alive!
But think about it — we are all influencers.
Paul understood this. He didn’t have a YouTube channel, but he did have a life and he was aware that people were watching.
He wrote to the church in Philippi. Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. (Philippians 3:17)
We don’t have to “try” and be an influencer. We are influencing others and this is a message we can pass on to our kids. The way we talk, our attitude, the things we do — all influence other people.
If our personal kids or the kids we’re teaching, love the Lord, we need to let them know that they can be an influencer to their families, the neighbors, their friends, their teachers, the dentist … whomever they (and we) come in contact with, we influence. That influence can be good or that influence can be not so good.
Let’s be intentional and encourage our kids to be intentional influencers for Christ both in what we say and in what we do.
Oh, and Happy Anniversary to my in-laws.