July 22

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


Today's Meditation:

It's true--we do underestimate the power of these things.  I'm not sure why.  Perhaps we just think that people don't really need our input in their lives, or maybe we're just used to people not encouraging us or sharing kind words or compliments with us.  In my case, when I was younger I never thought that my words to others had the power to affect them at all, for positive or negative; as I've aged, though, I've learned that almost everything I say has some effect, somehow, and not always how I'd like.

While we certainly don't want to overestimate the power of things like these--we're not going to solve anyone's problems with a listening ear, or completely turn their lives around with a smile--we should always keep in mind that the things that turn people's lives around generally are a bunch of things together, and our smile or compliment will be a part of a greater whole, a whole that gives someone hope or peace, and that would be incomplete without our contribution.

With my students, sometimes I find out years later that some small compliment I gave them was important to them, though I never would have guessed it.  So I've given up guessing, and whenever I might have any doubt, I give the compliment or the kind word anyway--it's better to err on the side of the positive than the negative.

Leo Buscaglia spent much of his life teaching us about the power of loving one another, and he told us many beautiful stories about love and loving.  Here he tells us that we do have power to help others, to make them feel good about life and living.  And if we do have that kind of power in our hands, shouldn't we use it more?

Questions to consider:

What kinds of things might you contribute today that might help to turn around the life of someone else?

Why is it so easy to feel that our words don't mean much to others?

How many opportunities do we have each day to make this sort of contribution to others?  How many of those opportunities do we actually take advantage of?

For further thought:

Our workaday lives are filled with
opportunities to bless others.  The power
of a single glance or an encouraging smile
must never be underestimated.

G. Richard Rieger


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