As a Reading Specialist, I have many small groups of students throughout the day. Yesterday, one precious darling seemed to be struggling with being respectful and considerate to her classmates during our lesson. After several defiant behaviors, I asked her to stay for a minute when the others returned to class. We discussed the reasons that had resulted in her having to stay behind. She understood that her choices were not wise ones and that she had not been considerate of the others. I explained to her that while her behaviors had made the lesson difficult, I was mostly concerned that she was going to miss out on learning the things she needed to know. I gently lifted her little chin so she would look in my face. It was important to me that she understood I was not angry with her, but that I cared. ” K, I don’t want you to miss out. I love you and I want you to learn these things so you can do your very best in school.” Those three little words changed the entire morning for both of us. “…I love you…” At that point she stopped fidgeting and made full eye-contact with me. Her little eyes filled up and spilled over onto her cheeks. Then I saw it – the beginning of a partial smile. It became abundantly clear in those few seconds that perhaps these were not words she hears often. Given what I do know about some of the circumstances in her life, it’s doubtful that she does.
Words have the power to lift or tear down – they can raise us up, evoke anger, or bring us to our knees. Words can be death or life to our minds and spirits. Regretfully, my words have not always been kind or sustaining. Sadly, I have been on the receiving end of hurtful words and know the scars they can leave. I have also felt the spark to my soul when someone has spoken air into it. We are all human, we fail daily. Still, our goal should be to speak life into those around us – and speak it often. I won’t lie – I was a bit frustrated with her behavior, but it was apparent that she didn’t need another adult yelling or condemning her. She needed some air to her spirit. My earnest prayer is that I will be conscious of those around me who need the same. Today three little words changed her day and mine. I will make sure she hears them again – and regularly. We both agreed that tomorrow is going to be a new day and a fresh start. I know it will be.
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” – Mother Teresa