Things are different. I’m at the stage in my life now where my two sons have grown and left the house but my younger two daughters are still with us. Because of that our Friday night family time usually finds us taking in movies of the Sabrina type genre rather than the Expendables. I’m dealing with it actually quite well.
A while back my oldest daughter ordered a movie called The Help through Netflix and while I wasn’t excited about the show itself, I wanted to be with my girls. So Hinton Tacos and a girly show is what I prepared for. The Help is a great show which is based off of a 2009 novel by the same name. The drama chronicles the stories of African American maids in Jackson Mississippi as recorded by a young white woman during the civil rights movement of the early 1960s. Two or three times during the cinematic narrative a motherly black maid lovingly grabs the attention of a young white girl she is responsible for and tells her that; “You is smart, you is kind, you is important.”
Wow! I thought. There is so much power in that practice. As the flick finished, I kept coming back to that scene and its power. We don’t know how it all turned out, but the assumption being that a child growing up with regular positive reinforcement is much more likely to succeed than one who is ignored at best or condemned at worst. That practice is so crucial.
The application is clear for parenting and for ministry and for life in general. There are times looking back in my own life where I can remember people telling me about all my failures and my weaker side began to believe that their description was all there was to it. In my young mind, it was not only that I had failed at something, but that I was a failure. Then there are those other occasions when I am reminded of the people who spoke positive words of affirmation into my life and that’s an entirely different story.
It is also a reminder of Christ when he noted that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus brought life, not just salvation from sin, but a whole new way of looking at life today and tomorrow. Yes, there is power in the words that we speak, to kill or to build up. Yes, things are different when you focus and remember the affirmation and reject the wrong.
So I am again thankful for Dan Johnson and the many others who have spoken positive into my life. What about you? Who has spoken divine truth and positive encouragement into your life? More importantly, who have you encouraged by your words?