Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Speaking Words of Potential


I was six years old and in the first grade when Steve Swisher came to my school to speak.  He was the only major league baseball player I know of that came out of my home town of Parkersburg, WV until his son Nick Swisher got picked up by the Oakland A’s.  And now, Nick is playing for the Yankees, but I digress.



I don’t remember a lot about Steve Swisher’s visit except that he signed some people’s baseball cards (I didn’t have any), and he shared some motivational words that have stuck with me ever since. 

It’s kind of wild to think about the things that saturate a young person’s mind.  I can’t remember a lot of my gradeschool experiences, but I remember being in the McKinley Elementary School Cafeteria sitting on the speckled tile floor when Steve encouraged all of us to “Strive to be the best!”  I wasn’t sure exactly what it meant, but I knew from everything he shared, that it takes effort and hard work to be the best at anything, and that our number one competitor isn’t other people, but rather ourselves. 

You see, when we strive to be the best, we are striving to become the best version of ourselves that we could possibly be.  And it could just be that the best version of ourselves we could possibly be also happens to be the very best at a skill or a virtue anywhere. 

I don’t really know what prompted Steve Swisher’s visit to McKinley, but I know that his words had an impact on me.  I’ve never met him or his son face-to-face, but his simple phrase has been a source of encouragement in all that I do.  And his words are a reminder of the power of our words in the lives of others around us, both young and old.

When you speak, you can speak words of life or words that tear-down others.  What would happen if each of us chose to speak life-giving words to others, and we sought to inspire others to “Strive to be the best!”?  I have had an opportunity to speak in a few schools during my life in spite of my lack of playing major league (or even high school for that matter) baseball.  Many times when I think about these opportunities, my mind goes back to Steve Swisher, and I think of the possibilities in those classrooms.  I’m potentially speaking to the next MLK or Gandhi, and perhaps someone in the classroom will look back on my visit as a catalytic moment.

We all have these opportunities though.  If you have children, or if your life intersects with another person’s ANYWHERE, you and I can speak words of life that may be a source of strength and hope for others when times get difficult. 

As you go about your day today, be mindful of your opportunities to speak life and hope into the people who are around you. 

May your words be instruments of life and hope, and may they help others realize their potential.

1 comment:

Tamara said...

Found you through your friend @BigMama247 and just wanted to say that I agree with you-- our words matter, sometimes more than we know.