Do you remember some encouraging words you received from a parent, teacher, coach or friend that helped shape your life today? Conversely, you may have received some negative words that shaped you as well. I recently read a book entitled Just a Minute by the founder of Compassion International, Wes Stafford. In it, he discussed the power our words can have on young people and how our influence even briefly can help shape a life.
In my childhood, I recall an old black typewriter where I started coining my stories often about my brother, Bill. I even started a local neighborhood newspaper with a joke section about Fords being junk. My Dad, a Chevy owner, said “You’re a pretty good writer—maybe you’ll become a journalist or a teacher.” My mom shared her love of music by playing lullabies on the piano for us and introducing us to classical music. With words of affirmation, they both encouraged me to love reading, writing and music. My children grew up with the same passions and have surpassed me in their skill level. Larry read to them each evening went he got home from work. It was break time for me. He started with C S Lewis’ Narnia series and continued with Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Now Larry didn’t just read to them, he acted out each character giving them a voice and mannerisms. He had Gollum down long before the movie came out, and when Thorin Oakenshield died, they all cried around the dinner table. I remember one time I drifted off to sleep while reading a magazine. All of a sudden I woke up in a panic and ran down the hall to the kitchen where I heard,” Fire, Foe, Arise.” I thought the house was on fire. My heart was in my throat—— but it was only a line dramatized by Larry from The Lord of the Rings.
All three of our children were in plays and musicals and Aaron still acts regularly in them. They grew up with a passion for the arts and parents who encouraged them with affirming words and actions. The power of our words played a key role in their lives.
Conversely, negative words can also shape young lives. But that will be continued in another blog. Feel free to comment.