Editorials by Robert Kirwan
Have No Idea How Powerful Your Words May Be.
Choose Them Carefully…
all been there. If you are human, you can’t help but experience times
when everything seems to be going wrong and you feel as if your life is
completely out of control. It is during those “down times” that words
of encouragement from family, friends, co-workers or even strangers can
boost your spirits and change your entire outlook. It is also during those
times that destructive words can be devastating and sink you deeper and
deeper into depression.
For example, consider
the story about a group of frogs that were traveling in the woods when two
of them fell into a deep pit. All of the other frogs gathered around the
pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the unfortunate frogs
they would never get out.
The two frogs ignored
the comments and tried to jump out of the pit. The other frogs kept
telling them to stop – that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of
the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and simply gave
up. He fell down and died. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he
could. Once again the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and
suffering and just die and get it over with. The more they yelled, the
harder he jumped and finally made it out to safety.
When he got out, the
other frogs asked him why he continued to jump when they were all yelling
at him to simply quit and die. The frog explained to them that he was
deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.
While this is may
seem on the surface like a humorous silly story, it contains a powerful
message for all of us. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift
them up and help them make it through the day. A destructive word can kill
them – perhaps not physically as it did in the story, but definitely
emotionally, which is sometimes even worse.
Furthermore, it is very
difficult to determine just how our words will be interpreted by others.
Therefore, it is absolutely critical that you always be careful when
saying anything which may have a negative impact on another human being
who comes across your path. You may not think you are saying something
that will have a serious emotional affect on a person, but you never know
what state a person is in at the time you speak to him/her. You never know
what your words will do to a person’s spirit, so you should always be
encouraging and avoid critical comments that may rob emotional life from
To illustrate this
point more vividly, consider another story about a high school student
named Mark, who was walking home from school one day when he noticed that
a boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the books he was
carrying, along with two sweaters, a baseball bat, a glove and a small
tape recorder. Mark knelt down and helped the boy pick up the scattered
articles. They were walking in the same direction, so he helped the boy
carry some of the items.
As they walked, Mark
discovered the boy’s name was Bill and that he loved video games,
baseball and history. Mark also learned Bill was having a lot of trouble
with his other subjects and that he had just recently broken up with his
When they arrived at
Bill’s home, Mark was invited inside for a cold soft drink and to watch
a bit of television. The two boys spent a couple of hours with a few
laughs and some small talk, then Mark went home.
They continued to see
each other around school the odd time during the next few years and had
lunch together once or twice, but that was the extent of their
relationship. Finally, three weeks before they were both to graduate from
high school, Bill asked Mark if they could talk.
Bill reminded Mark of
the day several years ago when they had first met. “Did you ever wonder
why I was carrying so many things home that day?” Bill asked. “You
see, I cleaned out my locker because I didn’t want to leave a mess for
anyone else. I had stored away some of my mother’s sleeping pills and I
was going home to commit suicide. But after we spent some time together
talking and laughing, I realized that if I had killed myself, I would have
missed that time and so many others that might follow. So you see, Mark,
when you picked up those books that day, you did a lot more. You saved my
The next time you feel
the need to be critical of someone, or to utter destructive or
discouraging words, just think about the two frogs in the pit. Destructive
words seldom produce positive results. Or think about Bill and what might
have happened if Mark would have simply ignored Bill that day on the
Every time you have a
chance to say something positive or encouraging to another human being, do
so! Don’t let those opportunities get away from you. Your words have a
tremendous amount of power. Use them wisely. You really never know just
how much they can mean to someone else.
Have a good week!