- Criticism & Ridicule: These words wound deeply, hurt, and crush the spirit. Criticism and ridicule cause the recipient to withdraw, to pull back, even if said in jest or jokingly. In the movie, “Rudy” his parents laughed at Rudy’s dream of becoming a Notre Dame football player. It took a strong character, internal fortitude, and intense commitment to overcome the family’s derision.
- Lying, Spinning, Flattery, Gossip, Shading: These words kill relationships because of the deceit, making things appear as they are not.
- Anger: These words can tear down and destroy if they are inappropriately used, abusive, or beyond the realm of reason.
- Encouragement: We need encouragement more than anything. Encouragement invites teamwork, inspires courage, builds confidence, and assures belonging. Note: Encouragement must be genuine in order to be words of life.
- Appreciation: Practice appreciation daily. Say it out loud, or write a hand-written note that you mail to someone. Note: As a coach, I stress the importance of appreciating others AND appreciating yourself.
- Rebuke and Correction: These words as essential for growth. We don’t grow and improve without course correction. They may be delivered either strongly and firmly or gently, but Rebuke and Correction must reflect the intent to uplift and support in order to be words of life.
Isn't it strange how princes and kings, and clowns that caper in sawdust rings, and common people, like you and me, are builders for eternity?
Each is given a list of rules; a shapeless mass; a bag of tools. And each must fashion, ere life is flown, A stumbling block, or a Stepping-Stone.
-- R. L. Sharpe (1870 – 1950)