Words evoke images and emotions. Words have energy and power. They fire up our imagination and have the capacity to shatter our souls and break our spirits. That is why we should choose our words carefully. So, why am I talking about words?
One evening, after completing an 11-hour day at the office, I jumped on a bus and headed for a dinner meeting. A woman, in her early 20s, and her son, who appeared to be a little over a year old sat next to me. The little boy looked up at me with curious eyes and gently tugged the sleeve of my coat with his small hands. I smiled and greeted him with a warm “Hello”. His mother admonished him for bothering me. I smiled again, this time at his mother, and said “It’s okay.” The little boy squirmed in his mother’s lap and again gently tugged at the sleeve of my coat. “Your son is adorable,” I commented to his mother. She glanced down at her son, and then informed me: “He likes to fight. He fights all the time”. Was she issuing a warning or simply making an observation? “He does? Really?” I responded. The little boy’s mother remarked: “Yes. He’s evil!” And she was not joking when she dropped that interesting piece of information on me! For a moment, I was stunned. If she was describing her son as “evil” to me – a stranger – and in public, what was she saying to him behind closed doors? When I looked at her son, I saw a little boy who was curious, highly intelligent, playful, and keenly intuitive.
Although her remark seemed innocent on the surface, the young mother did not understand that by uttering the word “evil” to describe her son – especially, in his presence – she was inadvertently programming her son for failure. More importantly, her words will subconsciously determine how she nurtures and shapes his mind and soul. Yes, what she says about her son also affects her, too! Think about it! If you are defining your child to a perfect stranger as “evil”, just how much unconditional positive nurturing can you give to someone whom you feel is “evil”? Now, don’t get it twisted. I am not judging this woman. I am sure she loves her son. But certain questions do come to mind. Does she understand the power of her words? Does she understand that her son desperately needs positive affirmation and that she is her son’s first female role model? Is there a direct connection between the little boy’s propensity to fight and his mother’s constant description of him as being “evil”? The woman’s son decided to get my attention again. He stretched out his hands in my direction and looked at me. Just for the record, I did not call out the young mother on her parenting skills. I smiled, looked directly into her son’s chocolate brown eyes, and in a warm and soft voice told him: “You are a good little boy, aren’t you? You are going to be a good little boy, aren’t you? You are going to be a good little boy for your Mother, aren’t you?” I was quickly approaching my destination. As I rose from my seat, excused myself, and exited the bus, I wondered if the power of my words had subliminally provided the little boy with the positive affirmation he so desperately needs. Did he understand that I was really telling him that he is not “evil”? Had I illustrated to his mother how she can utilize the power of her words to program her son for success?
We must use the “power of our words” to build bridges of understanding, heal broken spirits and shattered souls, inspire the uninspired, and strengthen and empower our families and our communities. Let’s resolve to use the “power of our words” to positively shape the minds and souls of our children – our babies – and the Emerging Keepers of the Planet. Our children – our babies – are our future – our bridge to the future. It is a bridge and a future that we are building through the “power of our words” every day. Think about it!