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The Power of Influence-Charlton Heston

How Far Does Influence Go?

Charlton Heston, one of America’s finest actors, died April 5th at age 84. The power of his influence has affected me since I was a child. He was known for starring in several epics and won the 1959 best actor Oscar for his infamous chariot-race in Ben-Hur.

His most memorable movie for me was Cecil B. DeMille’s, The Ten Commandments. Watching Heston portray Moses, who received the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai, had a remarkable visual impact on my religious upbringing. His portrayal of leading the Israelites through the Red Sea has long reminded me of how God can do the impossible.

Heston’s publicist, Michael Levine, who represented Heston for 20 years said, “The passing of Heston represented the end of an iconic era for cinema.” Heston’s chiseled face and sonorous voice represented a presence of power that was magnificent to witness. Levine said, “If Hollywood had a Mt. Rushmore, Heston’s face would be on it.”

Charlton Heston Walks By

With that kind of imagery in mind, I was sitting at an outdoor café at a mall in Beverly Hills about four years ago, when I looked up and saw Charlton Heston walking toward me. He was not the same striking figure I had seen on screen, rather a thin, frail man who was assisted by his caretaker as he slowly shuffled by me. I’ll admit I was star-struck. I wanted to run up to him and tell him about the power of influence he had on me, but it was better to let him pass by as I admired the lingering power of his presence in my life.

Who Can You Influence?

I wonder how many of us think we have little influence? Breast cancer can shake your self-image for a while, but don’t let it linger and replace your positive outlook with doubt and despair. I heard an interview a few weeks ago on television. A woman was talking about how she didn’t want to influence the religious beliefs of her daughter who was somewhere between the ages of 8 to 10. The mother was sure she was doing her daughter a favor by letting her draw her own conclusions about weighty matters of life at an early age.

The daughter said she used to believe in heaven, she hoped there was a heaven, but her voice dropped as she said, “I don’t know anymore.” The sadness of her face revealed the loss of hope she once had as a young child. While still in her childhood she was sliding into a hopelessness of life.

The Other Side of the Coin

A few days ago at the Orange County Airport, I watched a Caucasian mother go through security with her three-year old Asian daughter. It was one of the sweetest sights to watch the mother help her daughter and talk to her like she was a little adult, showing her how to put her jacket into the plastic tub and feed it through the conveyor belt. I thought to myself, That is a happy, well-adjusted child. The mother was to be highly commended for her patience and gentleness to block out the stressful people surrounding her and teach her child through example.

We go back to values that must be taught at an early age and reinforced all through life with our children until they are able to stand alone in their own convictions of life and make wise decisions by comparing truth to counterfeit, not counterfeit to counterfeit.

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. There’s a whole lot of living to do beyond breast cancer. Most of us have been positively influenced by leaders and those close to us. If you’ve not had a positive influence in your life, go check out The Ten Commandments for a starter. Let your childlike faith soar, not sour.

Look at a modern day wonder of faith restored in the movie, Finding Neverland.

Head for the bookstore and get lost in worlds of influence by some of the greatest minds of our times.

Living life is fun if you continue to look at the possibilities of positive influence.

Thought for Today:

“Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.” – George Eliot

Live Life,


Reader's Comments

One Response to The Power of Influence-Charlton Heston
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