A tasty recipe for possibility or failure.
The Bee Gees sing, “It’s only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away. With only a few words like, “you will never achieve anything much in life;” or “you always fail at everything you start,” it’s very easy to take the heart and soul away from someone. To hear similar words on a regular basis from a father or mother we love, or a teacher we admire, will undoubtedly erode self-confidence and eventually rob all hope and possibility from your soul.
I was recently scanning documents I had found in a box in the attic and came across some old school reports. As I reread them there seemed to be a worrying theme developing;
- Peter is a pleasant boy who has the tendency to talk too much at the right and unfortunately the wrong time.
- Peter has a tendency to chatter too much during class.
- Peter would do much better if he listened more and talked less.
- His work could be much better is he refrained from small mischievous exploits in class. (I wonder what those were?)
- In Physical Education the teacher wrote just, “little done.” Perhaps my dreams of becoming a public speaker are still more realistic than my yearning to be an international sportsman!
Sadly, I meet too many people whose souls are parched waiting to hear words that would bring them life. It’s only words, but everyone needs to hear words like, “I believe in you” and “you have great potential within” spoken about them. Perhaps the saddest of all are those who never hear the words, “I am proud of you.” If you have ever watched the life story of Johnny Cash played outstandingly by Joaquin Phoenix in Walk The Line, you can painfully observe how those biting words spoken to him by his father when he was just a young boy, haunted and scarred him for ever. His life was marked by the pain of longing just to hear his father say, “you’ve done well son.”
One of the wisest men who ever lived said, “Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim.” How true is that? People all around us are invisibly limping, disfigured within from words spoken over them. Every day as leaders, spouses, parents and friends we are presented with opportunities to feed, nurture and heal the lives of those around us by speaking words of recognition, hope and possibility. We need to speak words of affirmation over those we love, lead and live with.
I don’t quite remember who F M Henshall was, but when he had the chance to speak words into the life of a chatty, mischievous 15 yr old, I am glad he chose to use words that inspired and acknowledged maybe the glimmer, however faint it was at that time, within me and say; Peter is “A capable person who should well at whatever he chooses.”