To My Daughters: You Are More Powerful Than You Ever Imagined

Patrick Sallee wants his daughters to use the power of their words wisely.

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By Patrick Sallee

I drove home tonight, drained from the conflicts of the day, reflecting on all the conversations I had and the emotions for all involved. My mind kept coming back to you.

The world is a challenging place. As I watch how people carry themselves, respond to things and communicate … I wonder if I’m doing enough to prepare you for what lies ahead.

You are growing up quickly, and as you prepare for the start of school, I’m reminded of how hard it can be. And how, in many ways, the hardest parts of school don’t go away as you get older. The most important thing for you to understand as you grow up is simple: You are more powerful than you could ever imagine.

Words matter … use them carefully.

You can tear people down

It isn’t possible to go through life without conflict, without interacting with people you don’t like or don’t get along with, but don’t underestimate the power an angry word can have to tear someone down. I know that some times you have just had enough, you don’t want to put up with more and you are angry. It is times like these that you guard your words the most. People can only forgive the hurt, but won’t forget what you said.

You can build people up

Life is hard and you never know what battles people are fighting. If you choose, you can use your words to lift people up. You will see people in your classroom or throughout your school having a bad day, being left out or picked on. You have the power to build them up with kind words and encouragement. The impact a positive comment or even a simple smile can’t be measured. Look for opportunities to build people up.

You can knock down walls

One of the greatest things about our world is the range of unique and amazing people. But with this variety comes differences… and differences build walls. Walls that make it hard to get along and hard to understand each other. Often, these walls lead to conflict. You have the power to knock these walls down. Be open to people different from you, be kind with your words and accepting of others. You will be amazed at the friendships you build.

Friendship and connection, across all barriers, are strong enough to knock down any walls; to overcome conflict and bring people together. Use your words to connect with people.

You can inspire people

As you get older you will see how life is a grind. It is easy to fall into a rut of the same old thing. Don’t fall into this pattern. Be passionate about the things you do. Share with people why you care and what excites you. You have the power to inspire other people to accomplish amazing things. Your words can change perspective, they can warm people’s hearts and open their eyes. What may be a simple thing to say, can often mean the world to another person…enough to spark a passion they never knew existed.

Life is very much just getting started for you. You will meet thousands of people, make tons of friends and enjoy an amazing adventure. The words you choose will define the impact you have on people, choose them carefully … and never underestimate the power you have to change the world.

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This story was previously published on The Good Men Project.

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