WORDS - Jul 20th 2009 @ 10:50AM
by Matt Stone



            Whether written or spoken, words have the power to build or destroy.  The wrong words can damage relationships and the right words can enhance just about any situation.  Some words are easy to say, while others just crouch on the tip of our tongue behind that barricade called pride.  Of all the words there are in the dictionary, there are twelve words that are easy to pronounce but hard to say.  They are "You were right ", "I was wrong", "I love you", and "Please forgive me".

            One example of laying aside your pride is giving someone credit.  Have you ever been in a discussion meeting regarding the direction an organization needed to go?  You just knew that your plan was the best, the person across the table was wrong, and everyone else was an idiot for not seeing things your way.  While you're sulking, jealousy sets in, and the only way you can save face is to try to discredit the other person.  Haven’t you heard the old saying “you can’t make your flame burn brighter by trying to blow someone else’s out"?  What's wrong with just simply saying to the other person, "You were right. You really had your finger on the pulse of our organization; thanks for effectively presenting your idea"?   If your course of action had been followed, disaster would have been the end result.

            Just the thought of having to say, "I was wrong" can almost make a person ill.  I remember not too long after getting married, my wife, Jenny would occasionally write a check and then not record the amount and where the check was written.  It was almost impossible to balance our check book, and this would really make my temperature rise.   On one occasion, I went uptown to pay some bills and noticed that the checks were out of sequence and another one had not been recorded.  Since this was before the age of cell phones, I found a pay phone and called her, loaded for bear.  When my wife answered the phone, I let her know that what she had done with both barrels.   Heck, I was in the process of reloading when she asked that one question that brought the conservation to an end:  "Didn’t you write a check yesterday afternoon?"  Oops!  Seeing as I was the one that had written the check in question and not recorded it, I did what any man would do in that situation:  I just slammed the phone down.

            I knew what I had waiting on me when I got home, and when I walked through the door, it was just as I suspected:   a clean house, a pretty smile, and dinner on the table.  Talk about a humbling experience, I knew what I had to do and I didn’t waste any time doing it, I went to Jenny and said, "I want to apologize to you for the way I acted earlier today.  I was wrong." Not another word was said.

            Saying "I love you" makes a person emotionally secure.  There was a commercial on television a few years back that really irritated me.  It had people saying to each other, “I love you man” in a mocking way.  Our culture discounts the strength of those three simple words.  What’s wrong with a father telling his son he loves him?  It won't make him a sissy.  How about a husband telling his wife?   It doesn’t make him weak.   What about a man telling one of his friends, "Thanks for always being a friend; I love you"?   It doesn’t make you a girlie-man.  Don’t be embarrassed!  Want a way to strengthen relationships?  Just share what you feel towards other people.  They will appreciate it.

            The hardest request to ask for is forgiveness.  I was getting ready to go on a duck hunt.   My son, Mason, about 6 years-old at the time, came running up to me with his G. I. Joe canteen and wanted to know if I wanted to take it with me on the hunt.  I said in a curt voice that it was just a toy, and as I was explaining to him that it had no value to me on the trip, I could see the tears welling up in the corners of his eyes.  In retrospect, I should have taken the canteen with me.  Instead, I had to stop and cradle my son in my arms and ask him to forgive me, and thank him for trying to take care of daddy.

            These twelve simple words have so much power in them and yet so often go unsaid.  If you have someone that you know you need to speak to, seek them out and tell them the words that can restore any relationship.  You were right.  I was wrong.  I love you.  Please forgive me.


Naturally yours,
Matt Stone



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