You’re ugly! You’re stupid! Nobody likes you! You’re just like you’re father! You’re going to end up just like you’re mother! You’re worthless! Nothing you say even matters! You’re slow! You’re just not good enough! If you weren’t here, it wouldn’t make any difference! I wish you were never born! I hate you! Sound familiar? In some varying degree, and at some point in your life, someone has said those words to you, but sticks and stones, right? Words don’t mean anything to you, right? They can never hurt you, right? Wrong! Words do hurt and they don’t just “go away” No matter how much mental, emotional, and spiritual healing you’ve experienced over the years, hard words leave scars. You found proof of that about twenty seconds ago when one of the opening phrases reminded you of the person, time, and place where someone’s words brought you tremendous pain. As bad as that time was for you, you can imagine having these same phrases constantly driven into you with the same regularity as the daily news. Or even worse, imagine if they come from someone you trust, respect, and love.
It is usually at this point in the article where you say, “Cobaris, what does any of this have to do with the title?” Well I’m glad you asked.
As this year comes to a close, and the commercialism of the holiday season shifts into full gear, I ask you to give our young people a gift that far outweighs anything you can find on any store shelf; the gift of an encouraging word. It was my negative experiences as a short, fat, unwanted, unappreciated, overlooked, nerdy bookworm years as a child that motivated me to work with young people. But as I stand today, much taller, more athletic, influential, empowered with humble confidence, fully accepting of the responsibility that comes with the genius IQ that God equipped me with, and of course being cuter than a puppy’s baby pictures, I recognize that I wasn’t developed by the many negative words that were hurled at me by children and adults who possessed insurmountable insecurities. It was a small collection of loved ones, mentors, and even random strangers that God spoke through using the right words at the right times that strategically helped to shape me into the person that I am today.
But even with the benefit of retrospect, some days are harder than others, and a lift seems to come at just the right time.
I remember having a particularly rough week, a couple of months ago, where I had grown weary of being lied on, mistreated, talked about, used, misused, and abused. Usually laid back by nature, I was quickly approaching the proverbial last straw and was ready to let somebody have it. I entered the gym where I work-out, and was greeted by the radiant pleasantness of one of its employees; Ms. Alexandra Benitez. Always electing to keep my personal problems to myself, I politely responded but was met with a flurry of kind words and compliments that made me forget why I was so upset in the first place. I later thanked her for her random act of kindness and discovered that she was completely unaware of my emotional state and simply provided uplifting words because it’s what she believes in doing.
“No matter what you’re going through, you’re going to draw whatever you present to people. You will always draw whatever you show to a person, so why make a situation worse by drawing negativity”, says Benitez.
What makes this statement so profound is the significance it places on the delivery of our words; and not just the words themselves.
Even with my reservations about how genuine the “Keepin it real” movement really is, I agree with the core belief that the truth is the truth. I don’t think eggshells should be walked on. I don’t think coats should be sugared and I won’t succumb to the notion of bushes being beaten, but I do think there’s a way to present anything to anyone.
The Bible, in Jeremiah 31:3, states that it is with loving kindness that we are drawn to God. If we’re not drawing our young people to God with our loving kindness…..where are they going? That doesn’t mean that everything we say is always going to have a go along-get along, happy, lovey-dovey, Saved by the Bell, Kumbaya feel to it. We should just keep in mind that when it comes to the construction of young people, we should create much more than we destroy. We should express our love, our gratitude for their effort, our concern for their well-being, and our hope for their future. We should tell them when they do well; as well as correct them when they don’t.
The Bible, in James chapter 3, also vehemently explains how powerful a person’s tongue is and how it is equally capable of awarding blesses and curses; depending on how it’s used. If it pleases God to approach His people, especially the children, by speaking blesses on them how do you think He wants us to use our words? Take a moment to look at the person next to you. If you knew that everything they ever speak over your life will come to fruition, how would you want them to use their words? Shouldn’t that be the same way we use ours? With this new surge of empowerment that you’re feeling after reading this article, go out there and become who God created you to be. Nothing beats a failure but a try and can’t is a can with too much “t”. To God be the glory!