Manvotional: Unseen Influences

by Brett & Kate McKay on February 28, 2010 · 7 comments

in A Man's Life, Manvotionals

Unseen Influences

By Henry F. Kletzing and Elmer L. Kletzing, 1899

“How do you know there is a kite in the air?” said a man to a boy who was holding a string leading skyward. “I see nothing and you see nothing.” “But I feel it pull!” was the prompt reply.

So with many unseen influences coming from various sources. We cannot explain their origin, but somehow they mold and shape our lives; somehow we feel them pull our hearts upward and onward.

We associate with men whose thoughts are ennobling, whose lives are refined and have an aim, whose conversation is elevating, whose manners and bearing are courteous and dignified, and unconsciously our own lives are taking on the same traits, our characters are expanding in the same direction. On the other hand, let our companions be those whose thoughts are debasing, whose lives are coarse and aimless, whose conversation is commonplace and borders on the vulgar, whose manners are rude and offensive, and unconsciously and involuntarily we, at least in some respects, show the influence of these surroundings upon our own lives.

Sailing from Cuba, a sailor thought he had gained sixty miles one day, but the next observation showed that he had lost more than thirty miles. There was an unseen undercurrent. The ship had been going forward by the wind but going back by a current. A man’s course may often seem to be right, but the undercurrent is sometimes carrying him in a direction the very opposite of that which he thinks he is going. Unseen influences may be debasing or elevating. Every man has an influence over someone else. This influence may be far-reaching or otherwise, according to circumstances. It is impossible to deny or to be free from the responsibility of exerting an influence upon others. Each one must, however, decide for himself whether this influence shall be ennobling or degrading.

Many a pliable youth, whose future was still undecided, has had his destiny determined by a word, a look, a touch, a shadow. Thousands of men have been destroyed in this world who never knew, nor even suspected, that it was some small circumstance that determined their destruction. Thousands of men have been led by some unseen influence to choose the better part and to give their lives for the uplifting of humanity.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 danneththemanneth February 28, 2010 at 5:08 am

Interesting post, particularly like what you have to say about choice of friends.

2 David February 28, 2010 at 7:39 am

It’s the old saw: Bad company corrupts good morals. How old? Well, 2000 years ago, Paul quotes someone even older in 1 Cor. Menander (340-290ish BC) who may have, in turn, sourced it from Euripides. In any case, here’s some more Menander!

“He who labors diligently need never despair; for all things are accomplished by diligence and labor.”
“The school of hard knocks is an accelerated curriculum.”
“The person who has the will to undergo all labor may win any goal.”
“We live, not as we wish to, but as we can.”
“Man must be prepared for every event of life, for there is nothing that is durable.”
“No just person ever became quickly rich.”

3 Bruce Williamson February 28, 2010 at 10:50 am

If they influences affect you then they are felt and not really unseen. The problem is that you are not attuned to them.

Regarding the kite story: Best to read Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land and note the Fair Witness. A Fair Witness doe snot assume but only reports that which was visible.

4 Phil February 28, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Hmm…This reminds me a little about The Biosphere Project.

The trees failed to grow as much since they were isolated and they didn’t have a wind to wake up the cells which induced the roots to grow deeper. People are much the same way. You grok what I’m saying?

5 Rahul March 1, 2010 at 1:57 am

Nice one…..I think one of the biggest unseen influences is what we see in our growing up years ie: our parents and immediate family and how we learn to negotiate problems that we face during that period. Like it or not, what we see and how we solve problems during that period of our lives colours our perceptions of the world as well as how we react to problems later on in life as well. They can often lead us to making mistakes as we judge a new situation using the compass and a view of the world that was right for our childhood situation but may not be right for this situation. I think the key is to keep learning and be aware….. well, I hope you got what I am trying to convey :-)

6 Chad Smith March 1, 2010 at 10:51 am

This is so important. Most of the way that we act was determined by older men being a living example of how to carry ourselves. I was never sat down and told, “now this is how you act when you meet new people, or enter a room, or correct someone.” Instead, I watched my father and stepfather do all of these things million times. Children and young men will do what they see, not what they are told…Remember that.

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