My favorite book party, circus themed for The Language of Silence, complete with clown and red noses, stuffed animals, and candy for the children.
Mark Twain said, “Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Winston Churchill said, “To build may be to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.” My hero—my daddy—always said, “Be kind.”
My birthday is this month. In the many years I’ve lived, I have learned this true thing: It’s easy to be thoughtful when I feel good and prosperous and unhurried, but it’s much harder when I’m worried, rushed, sick or depressed. And yet, the Bible instructs me to practice thoughtfulness, no matter what my condition. To think before I act or speak.
The wise are cautious and turn away from evil, but the fool throws off restraint and is careless.”
Have you ever been celebrating something wonderful, the best news you’ve had in a long time, and a careless, negative remark by someone you know and trust throws a cloud over the whole day? Because I’m a musician as well as a writer, I always think of those thoughtless remarks as raining on my parade (“Don’t Rain on my Parade” from the musical Funny Girl).
Words have impact. They have lasting consequences. The spoken word cannot be unspoken. It’s carved forever in the memory of the one who hears it.
As adults we learn how to cope with troublesome situations and careless remarks. But little children don’t have those skills. They are vulnerable. Unformed. Innocents who trust the adults around them to teach them by good example and to lift them up with encouraging words.
I know. I teach the Littles at Sunday school in my small country church. Two-to-six-year-olds. Adorables. Babies who hug me around the knees and thank God for peanut butter and raccoons. I am ever-vigilant of what I say to them. Even if I’m tired or cranky, I walk into that Sunday school room with a smile on my face and a song on my lips. “Jesus loves me,” we sing. “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” Positive songs to fill the children up with love and confidence. To make them believe in themselves and in God who loves them unconditionally. To give them hope and fill them with joy.
This the reason I teach little children. This is the reason I write novels and play awesome arrangements of great hymns and spirituals on my piano. This is the reason I write this blog. To remind all of us to be thoughtful in all we say and do…and to spread hope.
Be kind. Be thoughtful. God is good.