Watching them interact has been a gentle reminder to me that we all have an influence on those around us. And this is especially true when we are older than the ones we influence. For this reason, it is important that we remember the power of our influence, especially on those who look up to us.
To help illustrate this point, I share this story…
Three college freshman and three seniors were traveling home for Thanksgiving break. At the train station, the three freshmen bought tickets for themselves and watched as the seniors bought just one ticket. One of the freshmen asked, “How are the three of you going to travel on only one ticket?” “Watch and learn,” answered one of the seniors.
They all then boarded the train. The three freshmen took their seats as all three seniors crammed into a bathroom together and closed the door. Shortly after the train departed, the conductor came around collecting tickets. He knocked on the bathroom door and said, “Ticket, please.” The door opened just a crack and a single arm emerged with a ticket in hand. The conductor took it and moved on.
The freshmen observed and agreed it was a clever idea. They decided to do the same thing on the return trip and save some money. When they got to the station a few days later, they bought a single ticket for the return trip. The seniors were also there, but they didn't buy a ticket at all. Perplexed, one of the freshmen asked, “How are you going to travel without a single ticket?” “Watch and learn,” answered a senior.
When they boarded the train, the three seniors crammed into one bathroom and the three freshmen crammed into another one across the way. Shortly after the train was on its way, one of the seniors left their bathroom and walked to the bathroom where the freshmen were hiding. He knocked on the door and said, “Ticket, please!”
Needless to say, lesson learned!
Of course, we all learn lessons from others! And in turn, others learn from us! As you learn from others, always remember that not everything they have to teach you is admirable and worthy of imitation. In fact, some people can teach you what to do; and others can teach you what not to do!
In like manner, be aware that others are observing you, and learning from you as they do. And remember, in many respects, you control what they learn from you. So whatever that is, be sure to make it commendable. Make it admirable. Make it praiseworthy.
They’ll be glad you did. And so will you!
I leave you with the fitting words of Jesus in the New Testament Gospel of Matthew (chapter 7, verse 12, Contemporary English Version): “Treat others as you want them to treat you.”
STORY SOURCE: Mark Mitchell, Pastor of Central Peninsula Church in Foster City, California. From a sermon he once preached on the Eighth Commandment titled “I'll Take What You Have”. Cf.: https://cpc.org/sermons/.
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: https://biblehub.com/matthew/7-12.htm.