The power of positive influence

November 16, 2016
Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer This youngster demonstrates how boys normally gain access to the Caymanas Park property in order to swin in the pool that is used to exercise horses. A boy drowned in the pool recently after he was influenced by other to jump over the wall.

Our society loves to admonish children, and even adults, with the stern warning to 'avoid bad company'. I know, because I got it regularly as a child, and I've given it generously as parent and teacher.

How about you?

The obvious assumption and feared expectation, of course, is that the good child is likely to follow bad ones and be influenced into negative and destructive behaviour. Yes, that's a definite possibility, but it's not always the case, though. The influencing can work the other way around as well. Nuh true?

Yeah man, I firmly believe that good youth can also encourage and influence their bad-behaving friends towards constructive change and growth. Think 'bout it! Di good-good pickney dem can sometimes be that sole saving grace that regularly provides much-needed positive examples for their wayward friends to emulate. And it may happen a lot more than we tend to realise. Trust me on that.

As a one-time smoker who usually smoked a lot less or didn't smoke at all when my nice non-smoking friends were keeping company with me, I can certainly attest to that small, subtle, but definitely positive influence. And talk the truth, folks; I'm sure you know some foul-mouth virago - like my dearly departed Auntie Becca - who routinely cut more cloth than ten fabric merchants, but who would respectfully put a pause on the profane language and even tone down the 'skettel' behaviour when in the company of nice, decent, Christian friends. Nuh positive influence dat?

And here's another example. My dear wife is currently on a diet, or a 'special meal plan' as she calls it. And guess what! I am now losing weight too. Yes, I'm rapidly losing the lickle bang belly that I recently acquired and slowly regaining my 'six pack'.




And look here nuh, it's not just because I have to be eating what she cooks. No peeps, in my household nobody has any monopoly over the stove and pots. It's also because I now have to be cooking what she eats.

So instead of me influencing her to eat junk, she's influencing me to eat healthy. And as a result of that, the man who actually tried to plant a dumpling tree when he was a child, is now fully weaned off such things.

Yes, friends and family. White rice, bread, flour dumpling, excess starch and sugar, are no longer my food friends. No iyah, sumptuous salads are now my favourite fare. And my body is thanking me for it. That, dear friends, is one solid example of the power of positive influence.

Now, I'm not discounting or dismissing the idea that good people can get into serious, sometimes even fatal trouble because they end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, because they were just innocently following a friend. Yeah, we all know and can cite at least one sad example of that reality. But hear mi nuh man, just like how friend can follow friend to dance, go-go club or gambling den, friend can also follow friend to church.

Yes peeps, if a man can follow his brethren to the path of destruction, people can also follow friends to the site of salvation. You following me?

So here's what I want to ask you; yes, you same one who's reading this right now. With the broad blend of negative noise and positive sounds that are constantly blaring all around us, what are you hearing? And whose lessons are you heeding? Also, are you blindly following or are you wisely leading?

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