My wife and I have had a young student lodging with us for the last week or so, he asked if he could stay to have some space to be alone and not distracted in his preparations for his upcoming law exams.

In fact, if my wife hadn’t told me, I would have hardly have known he was there, apart from meal times when he joined us for some company and a chat.  It was during one of these mealtime conversations that it became clear to me to just how easily impressionable young people can be.  How a few, well intended words at a crucial point in our lives can have a profound effect on us.

Many people come to me for advice, people of all ages, and I sometimes wonder if I have any positive effect at all in these situations.  If their minds are already made up or whether they are truly open for guidance and direction.

For 2011 I have pledged myself to keep an eye out for situations of influence and to double check that these moments are not taken lightly, misguided or wasted.  Because our young student has shown me that the influence we hold is far more than we might at first ever imagine.

Happy New Year