Word power and name magic


Do I have to do my homework? No (not said sarcastically), you get to. Want to go to college? Get a scholarship? Have a great career? Support a family? Then, you get to study, clean the garage, work a weekend shift, etc.

There is a guy I see in town about four times a year and when he sees me coming he says, “Mike, I know what you are going to say.” I say, “What?” He says, “Tony (notice NAME), it’s always good (notice TRUTH) to see you.” Nailed it, Tony. Recently, I got an email from a girl I taught in elementary school in the ’70s. She wrote, “Mr. Olson, I remember so well when you told me that I “mattered.” How and what we speak speaks volumes. Ever see a girl and think you know her dad and say, “You must be Ken’s daughter.” Instead, say, “Ken must be YOUR dad.” Put the emphasis on her.

Not long ago, I saw my friend Karl walking toward me with someone I did not know. He introduced me to Donna and we all chatted. Upon their leaving, I said to Donna, “You must be a good friend, because Karl has great taste in friends.” Truth inspires. Ever tell a young man that he has good taste in girlfriends if you know the girl? Try it.

How ’bout it, dad, if you tell your daughter, “I am very proud of you”, or your son, “I love you.” Will those words register big time? Many in my generation grew up not hearing those words very often and it has taken me decades to liberally use them. I’m doing so much better. Now, “luv ya” is okay, but “I love you” rocks worlds. And, always use personal names. “Jimmy, thanks for your help; Sarah, you did that so well.” Ever notice, when after some time period, the value when someone you may not know very well uses your name, or vice versa?

When you know someone well and want to boost them, try these powerful words: “PJ, I feel you can do that…and I think you can, and better yet, I KNOW you can.”

How is it that I am so positive? The alternative reeks.

In 1981 on her deathbed, my mother said, “I see angels and hear bells.” Wow! Years later on her deathbed, I was sharing memories with my grandma thinking she was unconscious. I mentioned my grandfather who died 17 years before my birth when she was about 30. She said, “Chris was a very good man.” Powerful. Two weeks ago, I visited my adopted 19-year old grandson, MJ, in a Chicago rehab center. I held his drug ravaged body in my arms for an hour while he sobbed — while we cried. No words needed there. If you have the Gospel, share it — use words only if necessary. Let’s use names, words to uplift and love unconditionally.

Mike Olson

Ford River/Escanaba


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