The formative years of our lives are influenced by many interesting people we get to interact with. The period before adulthood is typically classified as the formative period in a person’s life. But the formation of a person’s life doesn’t stop after adolescence. Even at our prime and sunset stages, there are still people that can reshape our lives and change our ideals, our outlook and way of life. The constant and irreplaceable person that influences another person is the parent. But throughout our lives, we meet other people who can also influence the formation of lives other than our parents.

We are influenced by our parents from the moment of our conception up to our birth, growth and eventual death. The extensive scope of our parent’s influence on our character and personal formation does not guarantee an absolute or total influence. In fact, if we break down our whole being, only a relatively large chunk of our being is influenced by our parents. The other chunks may come from the influences of our relatives, friends, acquaintances, mentors, our idolized personalities, co-workers, religious leaders, ex-lovers, our respective significant others and so many more. These diverse influences shape our entire being and our lives. The influences I find interesting are those that spend a significant amount of time in our lives.

A significant part of our behavior comes from the influence and nurture of our parents. The way they impose discipline can impact how we behave as kids up until we become adults. They are our foremost mentors and life coaches. It is with them that we create our first formulas in solving life’s problems and overcoming challenges.

As we enter the field of education, our teachers reinforce our learning and our behavior by being our second parents. They take up about six to seven hours of our weekdays and we have an average of 180 school days in a year. Even without delving too deep into the statistics and mathematical computations, we can see that teachers also have a significant length of time in influencing our daily learning and behavior during our educational years.

The friends we have in our lives are also key influencers of our characters. These friends come into the different stages of our lives: from childhood to old age. Some friendships are fleeting while some are long-lasting. Some friends come and go and are replaced by other friends. Other friends can also be loyal and stick with us as long as they can. No matter the length of friendship we have with our friends, their impression and influence on us are significant. The mere power of suggestion cannot be underestimated: how our friends talk and act around us can influence our self-esteem and how interact with other people.

Our relatives are the extensions of our immediate families. Our uncles, aunts, grannies, grandpas and cousins help us reconnect to our roots and heritage. In another way, their interactions with us can also influence our outlook and perspective as they are to be respected as families of our parents.

Our significant others are not to be left out when it comes to the influences of our lives. They are our better half, not because they are better than us in any aspect, but they are the ones that can make us better persons. The love we share with them is timeless, precious and nurturing. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been in love with each other, but what matters most is how much we love them and keep on doing so.

With all these influences we have in our lives, the greatest and the best will always be God. These chunks of influences are lovingly molded by God’s and shaped in likeness of His holy image. How we want our lives to be shaped should, in essence, be God’s will. It would be best to let God put the important pieces and influences of our formation, with Jesus Christ at the center of all the pieces. With faith and a positive outlook in life, we know that our lives will be formed for the best because God is always there for us. (“For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” — 1 Timothy 4:8)

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