The power of words



. . . encouraging words can be the fine line between a good day and a bad day.

1. the action of giving someone support, confidence or hope.

“Good job, keep going, well done!” are all words we want to hear, especially from our friends, family and, for me, from teachers at school. 

Being in high school, there are struggles with confidence and a lot of the time kids are not encouraged. They are left to think they really can’t do anything. That’s why teachers should, every once in a while, let their students know they’re doing a good job—even friends can do it. Because encouraging words can be the fine line between a good day and a bad day. 

Sometimes kids feel worthless. In school, they’re constantly under pressure. They don’t know if they’re doing the right thing or if it’s good enough. They haven’t got a hope if someone doesn’t offer support. For example, a child in primary school might be drawing. He looks around the room and sees other kids drawing something completely different. He’ll start to feel upset and thoughts like “It’s not like theirs, it must be wrong!” will start going through his mind. He’ll get self-conscious and try to change it. Then when he can’t draw like the others, frustration will settle in and he will probably give up altogether.

Kids going through high school have the same problem but on a larger scale. With girls it’s all about the clothes, boys, makeup and who you are friends with. Some girls have their little group of friends who are always commenting on their looks—that builds them up. They often look confident but not all of them really are. But then you have the quiet bookworm who doesn’t think that highly of herself, doesn’t dress like other girls and doesn’t make a huge effort on her appearance. She doesn’t have that many friends so she doesn’t often hear encouraging words like, “you look good”.

In class students will try to impress a teacher, get the praise and pretend to just brush it off as nothing. For some students who struggle with self-confidence, if a teacher makes a negative comment about an artwork, such as, “That’s not good enough, that colour is completely wrong. Don’t try that style again!” it will usually crush them. Hearing those words will destroy any aspiration towards a creative line of work. 

The Bible says that we should be lifting each other up, but in fact we have been doing the opposite. In high school it’s very common to hear negative words about you or another person; very often it does impact what a person thinks and does. It might look like it hasn’t affected them but in truth, it really has. Let’s encourage each other.

Erin Agafonov wrote this as a Year 9 work experience student from Charlton Christian College, NSW.