I’m kind-of a mess right now. I am officially the mom of an elementary, jr high, high school, and college student. (Yes, self, this is really happening.)

I’m up to my eye balls in school supplies in every girly, glittery design Target had to offer. And dorm decor has taken over the formal living room, which I’m ignoring as best I can to prevent that overwhelmingly-anxious, dreaded lump-in-the-throat kind of feeling. But, I’m not really in the mood to talk about me. All this chaos has had me thinking about you: the influencers of my kids.

I say, “Dear Teacher,” because we’re on the threshold of another school year, but I really mean all of you who influence: youth pastors, bible study leaders, Sunday School teachers, coaches, and of course, parents. I know you’re in the thick of it all with preparations and planning and schedules demanding to be put into motion. And if you’re like me, you may be forgetting something. But, don’t let it be this: you have a powerful influence.

I’ve seen this in action as I hear my kids speak of their favorite teachers with genuine love in their hearts. I live this in the friendship I’ve shared with my youth pastor and his wife after hundreds of miles and over 20 years have separated us.

And I’ve heard of it in the lives of others, like when I recently re-read these words written by Edie about my own dad and how he influenced her. She’s right. When we influence people with the love of Jesus, it’s not just for that moment. It’s the domino effect that continues year after year in a life changed because of the investment of someone else. And it’s notjust an important thing, it’s the only thing that really matters.

It’s not superior teaching skills that set these influencers apart. It’s the face-to-face listening to a child who desperately needs to be heard. It’s the kind word spoken on a day when it’s needed most. It’s having the wisdom to understand that different kids need different methods. It’s recognizing potential even when it’s almost too small to see.

But, more than all these things: it’s showing them who Jesus is by living and loving like He does. It’s a consistent Christian walk, not only in word, but in action, every moment, all the time.

I’m reminding myself as a mom and leader of two bible studies with kids from all different backgrounds…it’s a seriouscalling to be an influencer. I’m responsible for what I say and do, and I can enrich or I candestroy, depending on howyielded I am to God. I can be proud and unapproachable, or I can be real andbelievable. Either way, I’ll beremembered.

These moldable souls are only in our presence for such a short time. Our power of influence is here today, gone tomorrow. But, if we use it right, it can be the force that helps to launch an amazing life.

So, just in case you may haveforgotten, you have a superpower. It’s called influence. And you can do great things with it. How will you use it today?