Imagine someone told you this as a child: you know ____ (your name) you are very bright and very special. Maybe you will become someone famous even a movie star one day! What a lovely compliment! Words like these stay with one for the rest of your life.
But of course, people are not always this generous. Even parents. So many people carry the emotional scars of a father or mother who said hurtful things to them when they were growing up. It may have been during a fit of rage or just as part of an ongoing theme. You’re useless. You will never make it. You’re this. You’re that.
And these voices also stay with us. No doubt life will test you one way or another. Let’s take a nice neutral example. Say you are facing a challenging final exam and really doubt yourself. But then you remember those sweet words of affirmation. And that gives you the courage to get through it. Next thing you’re walking at your graduation ceremony smiling from ear to ear. At that glorious moment, the encouraging words of this person may be far from you. You look around and everybody is applauding you, they are genuinely happy for you. But I don’t think the person who affirmed you that time would mind too much. Usually when people do this from the heart, they do it for your benefit and not to be thanked later.
But back to the not so nice words. Somehow those words seem to be more powerful. They always seem to be there, never far. When this happens one builds what I would call an ‘internal defence mechanism’- I suppose to break even or survive. When these voices are in one’s life we usually don’t take feedback well. But let me say this first about feedback. Only a few people prefer to give constructive feedback. For the vast majority of people it is just always better to highlight the shortcomings. Have you noticed? Don’t tell me what to do, I don’t care etc the person receiving the feedback may shout. Who are they talking to? Is it perhaps primarily meant as a response to these negative voices?
Some people – and I will take the liberty to say many – live their entire lives to prove this internal voice wrong. As we grow up we find sophisticated ways to camouflage our real intentions. And if you really pay attention you will pick this up and wonder: now that reaction was uncalled for? Why did this person react so strongly, so irrationally? Well, why do you think?
The other day I was talking to someone and every now and again he would say ‘my late father used to say.’ I thought about a bit and realised that yes, someone’s words really carry power. This man himself a grandfather by now, has somehow retained the identity of the child, and I mean this in a good way. Somehow a big part of us remains a child. As we journey through life the words of our parents, whether they were uttered 20, 30 years or 70 years ago become increasingly important. It is as if nothing else matters.
I guess what I’m saying is watch what you say. Someone may say: speak life! And although I am not a fan of religious or any type of ‘jargon’ in this case for me it’s ok. Life here would mean ‘a positive expectation or result.’ And it applies to all of us, we all get angry and then say something that can potentially trigger a lifelong burden.
Even Yeshua was affirmed by His Father. We read: ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’ And quite a few earth rules were suspended to communicate this message. The Hebrew word for this phenomenon is ‘batkol’ or ‘voice from heaven’ was heard. When last did you hear an audible voice from heaven? And He was Mashiach- the brightest and most articulate Rabbi who ever lived! I can assure you, you and I also need it. Our children need it. And those under your care, yes that would include staff.
It does not pay to always be so mean, it’s not a sign of power but of abuse of it. Be careful: what you sow you will reap. That’s not religion, that agriculture.
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