Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Living. Lovely. ~ Kind Words

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment,

or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

~Leo Buscaglia

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged,

sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong.

Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.

~George Washington Carver

When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.

~Abraham Joshua Heschel

By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach.

~Winston Churchill

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight.

Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster,

and do it with no thought of any reward.

Your life will never be the same again.

~Og Mandino

Did you

Speak Kind Words

to someone this week?

Is there someone in your life (spouse, sibling, co-worker, child, parent) to whom your words are often unkind?
Did you make an effort to swallow the things you wanted to say,
and instead find words of encouragement?
Did it improve your relationship?
Did it bring you joy?
How did they respond?


I love motherhood dearly. I love my children dearly.
I love homeschooling.

But, by golly, sometimes the 24-7-ness of it wears me down,
all my nerves frayed and exposed.

Boys. Gotta love them. With their noise and dirt and exuberance.
Everything about them screams LIFE! ABUNDANTLY!

Extroverts. Gotta love them. Talking. Touching. Constantly.
By the end of the day I desperately need to be ensconced in a 10 foot sound-proof bubble.

Over and over again, I find myself saying words that tear down.
Even if the words are benign, the tone of voice or body language is not.

What am I thinking?! These are little people God has entrusted to me!
Not only do my words have the ability to tear down,
but I am teaching my boys, by example, how to treat others.

How can I be angry at my boys for yelling, when I do?
How can I be angry at my boys for their attitudes, when mine is unacceptable?

I've made a huge, conscious effort to speak kindly to my boys (one in particular) this week,
even (especially) when I'm pulling my hair out with frustration.

This shouldn't come as any surprise, but the boys have responded to correction more quickly,
their attitudes are better, and they are treating each other with more kindness.

A few days are only drops in a colossal bucket.
God help me, I must keep this up.


Next week's Living. Lovely. challenge:

Celebrate Autumn!

October gave a party;

The leaves by hundreds came -

The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,

And leaves of every name.

The Sunshine spread a carpet,

And everything was grand,

Miss Weather led the dancing,

Professor Wind the band.

~George Cooper, "October's Party"


Do you have ideas for Living. Lovely. challenges?

If you would like to make suggestions for future challenges,
feel free to leave a comment or email me at heidi (at) poetsgarden (dot) com.


Susan said...

I have one in particular that I struggle with and this week while one is screaming, I made a point to just hug her, even though she was wrong...that hug made all the difference in the world.

Anonymous said...

You have spoken to my heart today.
Thank you!

Elena_Valeriote said...

Beautiful quotes... They have inspired me anew to try harder to be kind and compassionate... Everything you mentioned. Have a lovely day.

Anonymous said...

Heidi, you have literally mirrored the thoughts I have been having lately! Last night I was thinking about how frustrated I was with them for the way they had treated one another...until I realized that they were copying ME! Oh, how humbling. I decided that today I would explain to them my recent revelation and ask for forgiveness for modeling impatient behavior. It's so nice to hear another mom (with such similar children to my own) who struggles with the same kinds of weaknesses. Blessings to you friend! ~Tera

Anonymous said...

This translates so well into other things we "get after" our children about... for example the cleanliness of their room, or picking up after themselves, or..

How can I be some upset with them for not putting their toys away when they walk into my "office" and see things in such disarray?

I am pledging to work harder on keeping my "toys" picked up.

carmella said...

Hi there! I've visited your beautiful blog a few times, but I'm not sure that I've said hi. Just had to comment today when I saw the lovely poem by George Cooper! My three boys and I have been enthralled recently with another one of his fall wonders entitled Come, Little Leaves. Makes us smile, or laugh out loud every time we read it!

Heather said...

Oh, heidi-- how this resonates with me!! Thank you... so so much... for your honesty.... for your openness... for yopur willingness to share your struggles and your triumphs. I've been blessed through it all~ thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I needed that. I just want silence...just for a bit.

grandma and grandpa said...

Heidi, those are poems, comments, admissions, etc. etc. we all need to read every day. You spoke to me too today. It is so easy to get impatient I find. Grandma

Maureen said...

Simply put--Thank you for these words.

alaskamommy said...

The quotes were lovely, the admonitions to yourself seemed like they came from my home. Blessings!

jodi said...

in addition to your lovely words, i love to see comments from your grandma. i miss mine so...

how about "footprints of lovely" as in...what little things do you see/do around your house that reminds you to love? i gave my moms at mops this week a small paper doily to set under the glass of water or what-have-you as a reminder. what other things can we collectively think of like that? or out of the ordinary lovely, like a shoe print on mud? you're so much better at these things than i am....


Skeller said...

oh dear. your words have remained in my heart for the last week. I must admit, it's hard sometimes (lots of times) for me to "love" an almost-teen who's willing to throw away the vestiges of childhood and assume his supposedly rightful place in the adult world. oy. so very hard.

BUT. I must, MUST, make more deliberate attempts to do so tangibly. it's so very important. thank you for the reminder and the encouragement...