Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Power of "Can"

Sometimes we forget the power of our words. This morning on the radio I heard a story about a boy with a learning disability--he couldn't listen to someone speak and comprehend very well--but he could read and understand perfectly. This boy was verbally tested by his school and placed in "special education" classes where he continued to do very poorly....until his freshman year in high school. During that year, a substitute teacher noticed something special about him and began to test him in different ways than anyone had before. After a series of tests administered in writing rather than verbally she said to him "I believe you are just as gifted as the other kids--you don't need to be in these classes. Why are you still in special ed?"

As a result of her confidence in him, the boy went back to his teachers and asked to be retested using written formats. He passed with flying colors and re-entered the primary classes at his high school. He graduated with straight A's, went on to receive a PhD, and is now a professor of psychology at a university.

The power of words is astounding. I wrote a brief essay once for NPR's "This I Believe" essay series called "I am a Dancer," where I describe how one sentence affected my perception of what I could do for nearly 2 decades.

I know my mom would never remember this, because she encouraged me to try ballet and gymnastics as a child, but when I was a little girl I overheard someone at church tell her that I didn't have the right "body type" for ballet. Essentially, I was too chubby. Overhearing that one sentence, spoken not out of spite I'm sure, but just an offhand statement that I am certain that mother didn't even know I overheard, resulted in years of an overwhelming belief that I "couldn't dance."

I could play music, I could march in a band--all things that require rhythm--but I "couldn't dance." For some reason that was a forbidden world to me all because of the power of words. Then one day words unlocked a magic door... My freshman year in college I had a roommate who loved to dance... One day she looked at me and said "come on, get up and dance with me!" I said to her "But I can't dance!" She laughed and said "Yes you can! I'll show you how! Anyone can dance!" Her words, "yes you can," opened up a whole realm of art previously closed to me.

In the years since I have taken lessons in ballroom, salsa, swing, contra dance, and Middle Eastern dance and have taught lessons in Middle Eastern dance and have led worship dance programsin church. I've danced on stage in at least 7 states. I'm no star, by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know one thing--I CAN dance.

Praise dance on Stage with the Alexandria Dancers (I'm on the front left)
Have you spoken words of life into your sponsored children lately? Have you told them they CAN defeat poverty? Have you told them they ARE princes and princesses, destined for the kingdom?

This I Believe--these children are VALUABLE to Christ Jesus. They CAN make a difference in their families, communities, and world! Let's speak hope into their lives today!


  1. I love the photo! The dresses and all the colors are so pretty!

    And I so agree with all you said. Just telling someone they can do it will change their life! Similarly a unkind word spoken can shatter their dreams.

  2. A gift for you from the wilderness.
    The true Gospel is now delivered to you Rev 12:6 as a witness Matt 24:14.
    Our heavenly Father will NOT put any child of his into a hell fire no matter what their sins. Sin doesn't scare God! He created it Isa 45:7 to teach us all the knowledge of good and evil Gen 3:22 for our eternal placement in his coming kingdom. Throwing a child of his into a hell fire has never entered the heart or mind of God to ever do such a thing Jer7:31, Jer 19:5. Anyone preaching a hell fire for any child of God has been deceived into teaching lies. The whole world has been believing in a god of hate murder and revenge (The devil Rev 12:9). The true word of God John 1:1 is now delivered Rev 12:5 here

    God chose a woman Rev 12 to be the prophet like unto Moses Num 12:3 and Elijah Matt 17:3, Acts 3:21-23, Luke 1:17. Those professing themselves to be Christians would be wise to hear all Acts 3:23 BEFORE making any judgment. The proof of what I tell you is in the hearing.

    Prove ALL things 1 Thes 5:21. Satan has deceived the whole world Rev 12:9 until now.