When I listen to the stories of successful people’s lives, there is usually one person who stands above the rest. This individual may have been a parent, a teacher, a coach or someone with a position of some authority. This one singular voice saw the good in them and encouraged them to become something more significant than they ever imagined.
When I talk to young people who are doing great things in this world, frequently there is one person who motived them to pursue their dreams. One caring person looked them in the eye and told them of all the good they could do. They showed care and concern and pointed them in the right direction, and it changed their actions.
When I hear the stories of dedicated volunteers, at least in Church, I find they were usually influenced by one person who saw their potential. That leader took this young Christian under their wing and helped them develop their gifts until they could soar on their own.
At Christmas, our temptation is to try to make an impact on the world through our gifts. We think that if we give enough money or just the right gift, then we will change the world for the better. I just do not believe that is true. People don’t need more stuff, and they are probably not overly interested in your money. What holds the highest potential for an impact is when we believe in someone else.
I believe we all want someone to see past our fake smiles and routine answers. We want another individual to look deep inside of us and see all the good we possess. They may have to see past my bad behavior that was desperate pleas for attention. They may have to listen past my foul language that attempts to make me feel strong. People are longing for a connection with another human who thinks we have value and worth.
So this December, instead of rushing to the store to purchase items to bring joy to the world, what if you expressed a genuine interest in someone? What would happen if you told them of all the good you saw in their life? What if you decided to invest in the life of a younger person for the coming year?
Real and lasting transformation of people will not come with a purchase at the store. Lasting change for good in the life of someone will only happen when we truly believe in them and work to develop them. Yes, it will require a personal investment and probably more time, but the result will far outlast this Christmas.