Every story has characters and in our own stories we have to decide the importance of those characters. Last night our speaker this week, John Rinehimer, talked about the 12 spies and how they can relate to our live, after all people still name their kids Caleb but not anything like Nahbi and Geuel. The friends we keep will influence how we live our lives.

In the staff meeting every night the speaker gives us a quick rundown of what we’re going to hear in the service and last night John said something I couldn’t forget. He was telling us about he was going to discuss people in our lives and that he was going to ask the kids different questions. One of his questions was “Are you a bad influence on someone else?” It’s a bold and deep question I don’t think anyone ever really asks themselves. How often do parents say to their kids “I don’t want you hanging out with them, they’re not a good influence”? I know I myself have heard it, but I’ve never heard a parents say, “I don’t want you with them because YOU’RE a bad influence.” We tend to play the blame game and this had me thinking, who actually takes responsibility for being that negative person in someone else’s life? John also told the kids to ask themselves, “Who do I need to take out of my story.”

Last night I had someone come visit me at camp. I’ve been friends with her for about 14 years and we grew up going to camp together. After high school we both went off to college and every summer come back to visit or work at camp because of how it touched our lives. This morning I read note she left in my notebook and it took me back to John’s question of how I influence others. It’s not something I ever really think about but taking a step back makes me realize that I really do influence others. I have a niece who dresses like me, talks like me, and is always trying to be like me, I have friends who look up to my faith and courage, and I have strangers and campers watching my moves every day.

I don’t want to be a bad influence or the person who you might consider taking out of your life. It’s really going to keep me thinking about what I do in my daily life and how I’m influencing others whether or not I realize it.

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