(Stock photo/Luca di Filippo) The right word of affirmation at the right time can keep us going. It can make your day, just as discouraging words can ruin it. Take the leap from thinking it to saying it. Go ahead, tell people how grateful you are for their friendship.
Don't Leave Meaningful Words Unsaid
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FEBRUARY 02, 2009
Craig Harris, HappyNews Columnist

Sometimes saying the right thing at the right time can make all of the difference. I remember the day before our daughter's surgery, back when she was seven-months old. We were meeting with the surgeon and scared half to death. Our daughter had a crimp in her aorta and it was forcing her little heart to work too hard. The surgeon was going in to fix it. He was explaining what the procedure was like and what the risks were. I doubt there was much color in my face. He had earlier told us there was a small chance she could be paralyzed if the surgery took too long.
But then he said something I have never forgotten. He said, “You guys get a good night's sleep tonight and I want you to know that I'm going to, too.” I found great comfort in that. It showed how seriously he was taking the surgery. He wasn't going to be out partying all night, then crawl in in the morning ready to wield a scalpel. I believed him too. It just didn't seem like something he would say if he didn't mean. We barely got any sleep at all, but I've always believed our surgeon did. And, of course, he was the one with our daughter's life in his hands. We were just spectators at that point, except for the praying.
He could have left it unsaid, knowing that we would assume he would. His position demanded that he take his job seriously. We could have assumed he would come to work rested. But we didn't have to. He told us plainly and we didn't have to wonder.
We can say the right things at the right times too. Our loved ones shouldn't wonder how we feel about them. They can know that we love them and that we are proud of them. They can feel appreciated. We can thank them. We can say we're sorry when we've blown it. These are the words that keep us connected. These are the words that bind us together.
Men, we shouldn't make our wives wonder if we love them. We should tell them plainly. And often. And we should tell our children just as plainly and frequently. True, actions speak louder than words, but can’t words crush us or make us soar?
Children crave hearing their parents' approval. The truth is, we all want to feel appreciated. The right word of affirmation at the right time can keep us going. It can make your day, just as discouraging words can ruin it.
Take the leap from thinking it to saying it. Go ahead, tell people how grateful you are for their friendship. Tell people how much they mean to you. Tell people how nice they look, how sweet they are, or how well they are doing their jobs. There’s no need to leave words that should be spoken unsaid. But we have to watch this or we will leave too many things silent and assumed.
If a person is doing his job well, he may never hear about it, but the first time something goes wrong, he’ll hear all about it! Let’s do better. Let’s tell our children’s teachers that we appreciate them. Let’s tell our doctors, mechanics, pastors, business associates, and others in our lives what they mean to us. If we do, we’ll teach our children to be appreciative people. And we’ll teach them to say the right words at the right time. There’s no way to measure how much it might mean to someone someday.
You may contact Craig Harris through his blog at lcraigharris.blogspot.com