Listen for the clicking…look for the twinkle…

September 20, 2021

In his Jack’s Winning Word blog today, Pastor Freed commented on a recent finding in a  BBC study that plants apparently “talk” by clicking when they are being talked to. Reportedly, they click faster and louder if being talked to nicely. That led Freed to use this quote from an unknow source –

“If speaking kindly to plants helps them to grow, imagine what speaking kindly to humans can do.” 

I’m pretty sure that I haven’t heard anyone that I was talking to clicking away, but I also know that you can see a certain twinkle in people’s eyes if you are saying nice things, especially about them. I think children in particular need positive reinforcement to grow. Speaking kindly to children and find ways to praise them for the good things that they do helps them build confidence in themselves and keeps them headed in the right direction. Even in times when less friendly words must be used to correct a misbehavior, parents should find a way to add some encouraging words of love and forgiveness to reassure the child of their love for them. Speak kindly to them and look for the twinkle in their eye.

In our day-to-day lives there ae many instances when the easy thing to do would be to criticize someone for their actions; but, what good would that really do? Finding a way to correct a mistake or change someone’s behavior without using harsh or belittling words is tougher than just blurting out an admonishment; however, it is worth the extra effort. “Putting someone in their place” may seem to be the thing to do, but it just puts them outside of your reach. You lose the ability to help them see the correct behavior when you alienate them by placing yourself in the roles of judge and jury. It is better to suggest that a different behavior might bring a different result – one that is more beneficial to them. Speak kindly to them and look for the twinkle in their eye.

Every so often we encounter bad behavior from someone who is angry at the moment. In those situations, acting and talking kindly is the thing to do One can commiserate without agreeing with the position of the angry person and try to calm them down enough to let reason take over again. I have noticed over time that remaining calm and collected while those around you may be in a frenzy has a calming effect on everyone else. Sometimes that is called “the calm voice of reason.” So, when you encounter that person who is being driven by anger, speak kindly to them and look for the twinkle in their eye.

I’ve tried to imagine sitting in a field of flowers and listening to them clicking away as I speak kindly to them. I haven’t been able to hear that yet, even in my mind; however, I have experienced the positive impact of choosing to speak kindly to people and I have seen the twinkle in their eyes. Have you? Try it today. Choose to speak kindly to people and look for the twinkle in their eyes. And if you happen to hear some faint clicking in the background that is probably just some happy nearby plants that overheard your kind words.

Have a great and kind week ahead. Look for the twinkles and listen for the clicking.

Shake the world with your gentle message…

June 1, 2017

I generally save the various quotes that retired pastor Jack Freed uses in his blog Jack’s Winning Words. Sometimes I pick one out later to write about and sometimes more than one may catch my eye as fitting together to support a thought. Such is the case today with two quotes from past post’s on Jack’s blog.

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”  (Gandhi) – and –

“One message at just the right moment can change your entire day.”  (Megan Murphy)

We can never know what the impact will be of a kind word at the right moment or maybe a word of sympathy. Perhaps you will be on the receiving end and it will make your day brighter and change your attitude towards things. Perhaps you will have the opportunity to extend a kind word to someone else and change their day because of it. In either case, that gentle and kind word will shake the world of the person receiving it.

We currently have a President who regularly shakes the world with his messages, mostly delivered in tweets on Twitter. I’m sure that his words, though seldom gentle, change the entire days of many other world leaders. Unfortunately, he seldom picks the right moments to deliver those words and the shakeups that they cause are not always for the better.

None of us ordinary people have that level of platform from which to speak; however, I would submit that our kind and gentle words can have a dramatic effect on a wide number of people. If you’ve seen the breakfast food commercial where one cheerful person (supposedly happy because of his great breakfast) passes on his little sunshine halo to a few people who then pass it on to others; then, you’ve seen the impact of a smile and a kind word. It’s like the ripples that spread out across a pond when one throws a pebble into it. The people that you impact have impacts on others, and so on and so on.

The Mackinac Policy Conference at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island is being held this week. It is sponsored by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and brings together the important political and government leaders in Michigan for discussions on topics of common interest. One of the three key topics that is on the agenda is a discussion of how to restore civility to the political process in Michigan. The same discussion could be had at the national level. Perhaps the answer is to start with a kind and gentle word between the parties and see if that beginning encourages discourse and compromise rather than the bitter partisan fighting that goes on now. Perhaps the message should be “Let’s talk” instead of “Let’s fight”.

For all of the rest of us, maybe a gentle message to our representatives in government that we’d rather they find a way to common ground and solutions on the issues, rather than standing their own partisan ground, might help. At least it would let them know that we are not happy with the extreme positions that prevent compromise and too often lead to gridlock in government. Shake your world today with a well-timed gentle message of encouragement and hope. Share your sunshine halo and see what a difference it may make.