When you look back on your life, what words matter to you most? What did your parent say or did not say? You may remember words of wisdom, daggers of despair, actions of affection, or absence of compassion. Whatever they did, or did not do, or whatever they said, or did not say, are our foundation of influence that makes us who you are today.
What are you saying to your elementary school child that is nervous about school, your tween wanting to fit in, your teenager striving to get the best grades, so they go to university, or your young adult embarking for the first time to college or returning to school more confused now than ever?
Whatever you say, your words matter and are a contribution that will count – so make them conscious.
Whatever you say, your words matter and are a contribution that will count – so make them conscious. #MyContribitutionCounts #YouMeWeMovement
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Words that mattered in your childhood
When you look back at your childhood are their demons of lack of encouragement that haunt you to this day? Those absent words of “You can do anything,” “You can fill your dreams,” words perhaps you craved as a child yet the more you searched, the more they outdistance you. The voids in our childhood can be the motivators for our success or the crutches of your failures.
The voids in our childhood can be the motivators for our success or the crutches of your failures. #MyContributionCounts #YouMeWeMovement
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What our parents say is so powerful and can set a young girl or boy on the path to be something great. As parents, you want your contribution to count, and sometimes all it takes is the words you say, and how you say them that can have a profound impact. The words you share will be the words that echo in your child’s ears for years.
My dad was a man of few words and fewer words of praise. I remember one time he did give me accolades as ten years old, and it still rings in my ears many years after his death. He said, “you have more talent in your baby finger than all your brother combined.” Now, this was after staring as Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ school play. Now, to be fair, he was lying because I couldn’t sing then, and I can’t sing now. But I remember the vote of confidence, much needed as a young girl with learning challenges.
A mother’s advice to her ten-year-old daughter
During the interviews with women leaders on Wisdom Exchange Tv, I asked them to share their advice as if their daughter was ten-years-old today. Without hesitation, they replied with a clear, concise, and conscious response.
Here are some of their words of wisdom. You’re welcome to share them with your child as they enter the next stage of their life:
Dr Jennifer Riria (Kenya): “You must to go to school, get a skill that answers a vision that you want to be 20 years from now. Move towards that goal every year.”
Gladys Ogallo (Kenya): “Whatever you have to do, do it well so no one has to come up behind you to clean it up.”
Jane Wathome (Kenya): “Be focused. Understand who you are and focus on your strengths. Don’t let your weakness destabilize you and get in the way of her focus.”
Joanne Mwangi (Kenya): “You are wonderful and you can do anything.”
Joyce Muraya (Kenya): “Enjoy every stage of your life; don’t rush anything. You are made for greatness.”
Norah Odwesso (Kenya): “Follow your passion. Go for the highest goals. There are no limits; the only limits are the ones you put on yourself.”
Rehmah Kasule (Uganda): “Never ask why did this happen? Ask, how can we overcome it?”
Hellen Acham (Uganda): “Look at the talents you have, take up those talents.”
Yetnebersh Nigussi (Ethiopia): Be loud, proud and passionate.” “I want my child to be as loud as possible so people can hear what she has to say. Proud, express herself as someone who is very capable and unique. I want her to demonstrate she is someone who has a number of things to contribute to this world. Passionate, someone always moving forward.”
Samrawit Moges (Ethiopia): “Use this opportunity to educate yourself as much as possible.”
Tereza Mbire (Uganda): “Be a girl of integrity. Always tell the truth. Have a dream of success, and work towards that dream.”
Advice pioneers wish they received
In interviewing these women, I asked them: “What do you wish you were told as a child?” Most replied: “The same advice.” So consider, what do you wish you were told at various ages, then share that insight with your child.
What message are you sharing with others? Are they words of encouragement that they can inspire to and reflect on positively for years to come? Or are the words that they will reflect on as anchors stopping them from achieving their potential?
Parents words of encouragement can inspire a child for years to come. #MyContributionCount #YouMeWeMovement
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As your children go to school, remember you’re the best teacher they will ever have, so be conscious of the power of your words, you may have the next leader in your midst, so cultivate that potential for the sake of your child and society.
Words matter a work too
Through our lives, we all need words of encouragement, whether we look like we do or not. Regardless of your colleague’s age, consider making your contribution count and letting them know something you wish someone had said to you. You just may make someone’s day – or month, because your words matter.
Until next time, make your contribution count.
Video of African pioneering women sharing their words of wisdom for their ten-year-old girl child.
Consider how to make your contribution count:
- What words are you saying to encourage others to their full potential?
- What do you wish you were told when you were young?
- What words does your child (or colleague) need to hear most, now?