The Renewanation Review Volume 8 Issue 1 - Page 10

The Right kindof influence By Bryan Smith, Ph.D. I do a lot of traveling, so meeting new people is something I do almost every day. Since I work mostly with teachers, a common first question concerns whether I have children and, if so, how many. My answer surprises them all: I have six—five boys and one girl. “Wow! You must be busy!” Indeed, I am. And, of course, my wife is busier.   But busy doing what? Running back and forth to school and going to soccer games? Well, that does describe some of the details. But that’s not what parenting is all about—or it shouldn’t be. It should be all about influence. Through all of the busyness, I want to influence my children. I don’t want them to be influenced by worldly thinking or godless values. I want to take the lead and see to it that their lives are shaped by the right kind of influence.   What does the right kind of influence look like? Maybe the best way to discern that is to locate a young person who is living for God, even in the midst of great opposition. Then we can work our way backward and figure out what kind of influence shaped that person. I 10 think we find such a young person in the book of Daniel. And from the first chapter, we can infer the right kind of influence. Daniel—A Young Person Living for God Daniel’s story begins with some of the worst news imaginable: Jerusalem has fallen to the Babylonians (1:1-2). The king is deposed, and some of the children of the nobility are taken to Babylon. The young Daniel is among them. Can you hear the cries of heartbroken parents as they watched their children being carted off to Babylon? “Oh, that we could have saved Jerusalem for our children!” But they could not. The time for God’s judg Y[