Put in a good word

“Hey, when you see her, will you put in a good word for me?” When someone uses that phrase it’s usually used as a request to leverage your influence to open a door of opportunity. As I looked at that phrase, I started to think about the power of words and the impact they have on us.  Walk with me down memory lane back to when I was in the 3rd grade at G.N. Smith Elementary School on Parkway Drive, Jackson, Mississippi. This was the late sixties so the haircut of the day for most boys in my neighborhood was kind of military-style “high and tight”. That meant that you didn’t have a lot of hair to cover the shape of your head. Well…apparently my head was shaped like an egg and that produced an unwanted nickname of “egghead”…needless to say, it wasn’t something I enjoyed hearing.

But there was this day that all of that changed!  It was a cool, clear, crisp day in the fall when words were spoken to me that gave me hope.  As I was walking toward the school, a couple of boys behind me were laughing and calling me an egghead, I kept walking trying to ignore their bullying.  I didn’t know that this whole event was being observed by the crossing guard, a kid who was at least three or four years older than me. When I started to walk past him he stopped me, and put his hand on my shoulder and said: “don’t worry about what they are saying, when you get older your body will catch up with your head and your head won’t look so big.”  WOW! For the first time, I had hope that the bullying would some day stop and kids wouldn’t pick on me because of the shape of my head.

Guess what?!? He was right!  I honestly don’t remember anyone else ever picking on me because of my head. I know things were said, but it didn’t bother me anymore because I had hope!  I had hope because an older kid noticed me and my dilemma, and decided to use his words to help me, and it worked. Today more than ever, kids need a good word put into them. Let me give you fair warning about speaking positive words to kids that really need to hear them: it will not be easy.  Sometimes it might seem that the kids that are in the greatest need to have a good word put into them will be the most resistant. Don’t let that stop you. Never stop speaking to them, never stop speaking words of affirmation, encouragement, and truth to them and over them.

HAMSIGHT:  Never underestimate the power a timely word spoken in love.