Verbal sunshine

Published December 20, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

 Nelly Favis-Villafuerte
Nelly Favis-Villafuerte

It is often said that “no matter how busy we are, we must take time to make the other person feel important.” Why? Because one of the deepest cravings of people is to feel appreciated. A few sincere words of recognition, of praise, of encouragement, and of hope and optimism can have a lasting and tremendous impact on a life. Believe me, there are more people who go to bed every night hungry for a simple word of encouragement and praise than people who go to be hungry for food every night. No wonder many are suffering from psychological malnutrition. The remedy? Let’s not be stingy with a compliment for others. A compliment is a verbal sunshine in this nit-picking and fault-finding world.

One may ask: Does encouraging or complimenting others have a Biblical basis? The answer is yes. In the Book of Ephesians in the New Testament, we find the following: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths. But only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29). In the Book of Romans in the New Testament, we also find the following: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10).

It is indeed tragic that many of us do not express openly our praise and words of encouragement to others. We just keep our appreciation for others to ourselves. Without realizing that silent praise or encouragement or gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone. In the same way that sending flowers cannot substitute for verbal compliment. Simply because flowers have a limited vocabulary. It is saddening also to note that many of us only say words of praise and encouragement to others when the recipients of the words of praise and encouragement are already dead. It’s a pity the dead cannot read their tombstones.

The power of positive praise and the negative impact of withholding it should never be underestimated. There is a true story of a notorious killer and robber in England whose early childhood experiences resulted in his bitterness in his adult life. As the story goes – the boy was once asked to stand and read some passages from a book in front of his classmates and teacher. He fumbled and repeatedly stumbled through the passages. The classmates, including his sister, were all laughing at him. Then the boy turned to the teacher for support. But she too was laughing. The shy little boy exploded in anger and threw the book against the wall and ran out the door. While going out of the classroom he screamed: “You will fear me! You will hate me! But this will be the last time you laugh at me!” As the story goes, the boy killed, looted and demeaned all those he came in contact with for the remainder of his life. The boy, who was not born a criminal became a criminal because of one humiliating experience.
Everybody, including children, needs to feel important, needed and loved. This is the secret of being happy. There is a story (a fable) about a young orphan boy who had no family. Sad and lonely, he was walking through a meadow one day and saw a small butterfly caught in a thorn bush. He carefully released the butterfly that was transformed before his eyes into an angel. Asked by the angel what he would like in exchange for his kindness, the boy said, “I want to be happy!” The angel whispered something in the boy’s ears and disappeared. Since then, the boy exuded so much happiness. When people asked him his secret for his happiness, he said: “I listened to an angel when I was a little boy.” On his deathbed, the old man finally disclosed his secret of his happiness to his neighbors who were at his deathbed. He said: “The angel told me that everyone, no matter how secure they seemed, no matter how old or young, how rich or poor, had need of me.”

As Christmas Day approaches let’s be touched to be more liberal and gracious with our words of optimism and hope. And with our smile. Especially with the members of our families who are short of our expectations as parents. Rebellious children may be or those engaged in some vices like drugs or dropouts in schools. Let me share excerpts of the message of a preacher in a Sunday worship service that I attended more than a week ago. It is relevant on the subject of families.

“The Christmas season is one of the most stressful times of the year for many people. x x x Thoughts of family come to the forefront. You will see family members that you don’t see very often. There is history… not all of it is good history. Memories, childhood or recent… reminders of troubled relationships… but you have to see them and you have to be nice… and it’s stressful!
“Have you ever felt yourself wishing you had a family like someone else? You’ve heard of the perfect family. Even listening to some people talk, you would think they had a perfect caring, considerate family.

“We’ll, I’ve got news for you. There are no perfect families and no perfect people. Families will always cause some grief and burdens. That is the nature of all caring relationships.

“Just a little advice here. Accept your family for what it is…bad or good… and find something to appreciate. Don’t think you have to save them or fix them. Leave that to God. We are only challenged by God to practice love and let God do the rest.

“This Christmas seasons thank God for family… no matter what it is like. It’s still your family. And if you don’t have a family, find one. Make one. Find a lonely person and draw him into your circle of love. Reach out. Christmas is love.” A blessed Christmas to all!

Have a blessed Christmas!
(For comments/reactions please send to Ms. Villafuerte’s email: [email protected]com)