When our schedules permit, Sherry and I begin our day at a McDonalds that is conveniently located across the highway from Judson High School (Converse, TX), where she teaches. One morning as we were sipping coffee and chatting, she related the success she was having with one of her eleventh grade math students. It didn’t take long for me to realize the success was not accidental.

Sherry said that on the first day of school, when the girl walked into her classroom, she noticed the young lady’s beautiful smile. So, she simply told her new student, “You have a smile that just lights up a room, and I’ll look forward to seeing it every time you come to class.” Sure enough, the girl always brings her smile with her to class.

Interestingly, Sherry said that other teachers have told her the young lady can sometimes be a real behavioral challenge. Not once has Sherry found that to be the case.

I related this to a customer one day, and he seemed to enjoy the story. I, in turn, enjoyed hearing a similar story from him.

He said that his wife’s best friend is a very prominent Nashville lady, named Trish. As illustrated in what he went on to relate, she is a very caring person.

According to my customer, Trish one day saw a little fourth grade girl, from very poor circumstances, on the street in Nashville. She was so touched by the sight that she walked over and told the child, “You are the cutest little girl I’ve ever seen.” The girl brightened, and they both went on their way. Little did Trish know, the impact her words would ultimately have on that child’s self-image.

Many years later, Trish received an invitation to appear as a guest on a network television show. On that show, OPRAH related the incident that took place on the street in Nashville and thanked Trish for being one of the very first person to ever give her the positive reinforcement that shaped her life.

BARBER-OSOPHY: Never underestimate the power of words to shape a life, at any age, for better or worse.

Copyright 2005, Sumerlin Enterprises.

Permission is granted to reprint this article as long as a link to www.barber-osophy.com is included.

Author's Bio: 

Terry L. Sumerlin, known as the Barber-osopher, is the author of "A HUMAN BECOMING - A Life Changing Voyage," and is a columnist for the San Antonio Business Journal. He speaks nationally as a humorist/motivational speaker. Visit his website at www.Barber-osophy.com.