Words. Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
My grandfather saw many changes in his lifetime, and he often wasn’t sure he liked them. While Papaw was occasionally incorrect in his assumptions, he was correct to question if the old ways were better.
The thoughts, words and subsequent actions our culture deems acceptable have changed. Think of the typical TV show from a few years past, “I Love Lucy,” “Andy Griffith” or “Carol Burnett.” One would be hard pressed to find anything questionable for little eyes to see or hear in one of these wholesome, old shows.
For a kinder, gentler world to reappear I believe we must choose our thoughts and words carefully. The thoughts we think, the words we hear, and the words we speak affect our life in an immeasurable way.
With the barrage of negativity we face some days, choosing to focus on the positive can be an uphill climb, but we can make a difference by choosing to speak positive words filled with life. Much of the time this simple act is contagious.
In my days as a public school educator I saw this played out in one particular little boy’s life. For the purpose of anonymity I’ll call him Jim.
Jim was an impoverished little boy with a bad reputation of being a troublemaker. His very appearance spoke volumes. With slumped shoulders and head down Jim glared at his classmates with dark liquid pools of anger and resentment.
Mrs. Corrine Matthews and I worked together diligently in our third-grade classroom to encourage Jim. We prayed for direction on how to get through the tough outer shell to the little boy inside.
Many days we felt like giving in to negativity and throwing our hands into the air in defeat, but we chugged forward. We made the decision early on to use positive words with Jim and focus on the good things he did.
One day we decided to give him the job of turning off the classroom lights and closing the door when we left for recess or lunch. “Way to go, Jim.” “Good job.” “Thanks so much for helping.” These simple words of appreciation began their work in his broken little heart.
Each time Jim turned off the lights and closed the door, a little more light seemed to glimmer in his eyes. After a while Jim’s slumped shoulders lifted, and he stood a little taller. The transformation in Jim was remarkable and a beautiful thing to behold. His attitude and behavior totally turned around.
Thank God we refused to listen to the dire warnings of trouble to come. We chose on purpose to think and speak positively, and it paid off for us all.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Jan Penton Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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