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The theme of influence will be woven throughout many of my future blog posts, especially as I reflect on the people who have had a deep impact on my personal character and development.

In order to propel ahead on our personal dreams, one should reflect back on where we have come from and who has been there to impart good influence.

In the photo above is my Grandfather (Frank Leo Martin) who passed away in 1986 when I was 11 years old.

My Pop-Pop taught me early on to dream. He himself was indeed a dreamer and a visionary. If he could think it he could build it or fix it. He always had some project going on that included fixing boats, trucks, electronics, and every lawn mower in Harford County. You name it and he was tinkering with it. However, if any of the grandchildren were around he would always make time to play with us.

He would build us bikes from parts he would collect and then build homemade bike ramps for us to jump. He would even call me Evil Knievel as I flew into the air and complete my daredevil landing into a pile of leaves.

Pop made me ninja swords from wood and painted them in such a manner that they actually looked sharp and dangerous. You know every little boy needs a ninja sword! But he even went a step further by making me num chucks to go along with them. They were unbelievable and they were made from a toilet plunger that he cut in half and joined by a linked chain. They were awesome.

There was no need to run to the store for we would make do with what he had on-hand. It was more fun and adventurous finding miscellaneous parts in his shop to create our projects.

Even though my years with Pop Pop may appear to be short, they were influential years where he displayed a way to think outside of the box and taught me many lessons. Here are a few:

  • Don’t be afraid to try and fix what is broken because there is value in things that can once again be used. You just need to envision the possibility of the future use in the fixed state.
  • Look for the opportunity to repurpose something for a new and exciting purpose so it can once again be highly valued and useful again. Who would have thunk a toilet plunger could bring so much joy to a kid. (It was a first class num chuck … sanded and rounded on both ends).
  • Speak into others their best potential. I wasn’t by any means “Evil Knievel on my bike but when my Pop Pop called me that my expertise at jumping that ramp went up and I felt that I had soared a mile higher.
  • Slow down and make time for those who are wanting or trying to learn from you. Those who desire your attention are like sponges that will soak up your wisdom. It’s an honor and a privilege that you may impact greatly in their future.


Just like the old verse says from Proverbs 27:17 People learn from one another, just as iron sharpens iron.
1. the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.

I can now look back and identify the people who have greatly influenced my life. I have a new appreciation for what they did or said because without them I wouldn’t have been able to propel toward the dreams in my life. I certainly hope to impart this power of influence to those that maybe leaning into me. Frank Leo Martin was a great influence in my life and I hope to pass such influence on to others.

5 thoughts on “Influence

  1. Wow Phil, I love this little story. I can remember him making these things for you. He would sit in his chair and think then he would get out his book and draw. Then the next thing we knew he was creating. But I do remember these things he made for you. Thanks for the memory..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your father says you are a renaissance man, constantly reinventing yourself. I think a variety of people have imparted their wisdom upon you and you were a huge sponge. You have excelled in so many areas, it would be difficult to list. As the daughter of Frank Leo Martin I can say without a doubt that he would have been so proud of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this. I traveled down memory lane and remembered the swords, cross, and acorn man pop pop made me. He was an amazing man and grandfather. Thank you for warming my heart and making me smile this morning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a great memory. I too remember Frank very well, he was a good man, My husband Will has so many fond memories with he, Bobby and Frank.


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