I have come to realize that we influence others more than we know. How many of you have a book on your bookshelf that someone else recommended? How many of those reads actually ended up changing your outlook and affecting you? What about your favorite recipes? Are they all ones that you found on your own? You probably cook some of the things that your mom or grandmother cooked, or you may have a new favorite or two that was passed on from a friend. A Christian friend might make a comment about something that they have chosen to avoid (a certain TV show or movie or music), and that gets you thinking, "Perhaps I should also avoid that." How many times have you run out to Target to stock up on the latest sale item touted by a friend?
Last Fall I was talking with a young girl at church who had finished high school and was taking the first semester off. She didn't like high school at all. Her father wanted her to go to college. In the course of our chat, I mentioned that there were many two year programs that were specifically designed to train you for a specific career, which would allow her to begin supporting herself, and to take courses related to her end goal. I think she might have equated college with four years of boring classes. I mentioned things that I knew existed, such as dental hygienist school, an education degree at a four year college if she thought she might like to teach (because she loves children), and we talked a lot about nursing. Because my sister-in-law is a nurse, I know a little bit more about it. I know that nurses are in demand, and whether you have a two year RN degree or a four year BSRN, you can make pretty decent money. The other thing I love about nursing for a woman is that one could actually continue working after having children, on weekends or in the evenings, contribute to the family income, and mostly stay home as well, if that is a goal.
My young friend had mentioned that she was going to be registering for her classes. The next time I saw her, I asked her if she had chosen her classes, and if she was just taking the general first year stuff. "No, I'm doing the nursing thing," she answered casually.
Well, I'm glad I didn't tell her to jump off a cliff. But seriously, I am humbled and honored that she listened to me. I don't really see myself as the answer-giver to her. I think that her heavenly Father, who knows what she will enjoy, excel in and be able to achieve, used me to help her find a comfortable option for her. I hope she will do well. I hope that I will be able to continue to be an encouragement to her.