Book Notes

As part of my summer reading, I have been enjoying a book by author Hal Urban entitled,
POSITIVE WORDS, POWERFUL RESULTS. The Christian principles cited in this book are familiar to many of us concerning how words can bless and encourage or hurt and tear down those to whom they are spoken or even those within hearing range of what we are saying.
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I love these kinds of books because they are filled with real life illustrations that occur in classrooms of universities, high schools and elementary schools, as well as educational, administrative and ambassadorial circles. The goal of the book is to point out how important and life changing can be the sensitive and skillful use of words for edification and affirmation of those with whom we communicate.

One particular incident that really made an impression on me was cited on p. 73. Mr. Urban relates this story. ( I paraphrase). Princess Marie Louise, Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, had met many powerful people in England in her time of the 1880’s. After having dined on consecutive evenings, first with Prime Minister William Gladstone and on the second evening with Prime Minister Disraeli, she was asked what impressions had these distinguished statesmen made upon her.She replied, “When I left the dining room after having dinner with Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But when I left the dining room after dining next to Mr. Disraeli the next evening, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England!”
Mr. Urban goes on to point out the import of speaking courteous, encouraging words to our associates, our students, our own children and to one another. The matter of courtesy and manners is a real challenge in our schools and he suggests several practical programs and projects that have had tremendous success in establishing civility in our classrooms and among faculty and staff.

As a matter of fact we have instituted a CHARACTER ED. program in our elementary school, as I am sure other schools have also, in a simple format to encourage courtesy and respect among all the residents of our school, and encouraging the art of positive communication, manners and courtesy.

In closing, a quote on p. 96 on this subject caught my eye. It’s heading reads as such: SUGGESTIONS FROM A FEW EXPERTS~ “He who uses courtesy reaps friendship; and he who plants kindness, gathers love.” ____NEEDLES AND FRIENDS


9 thoughts on “Book Notes”

  1. I found this little sing-song in Hal Urban’s Positive Words, Powerful Results, by Wonderama, the kid’s TV show of the 50’s and 60’s (and behond)

    “Have you heard any good news
    Today, Today?
    I want to hear what you have to say
    Wait til you get to the count of three
    And tell me all the good news you have for me
    Well, now that’s really good news
    I’m happy to say!
    It’s good, good news, today!”

    Sounds like encouraging advice. The GOSPEL means GOOD NEWS!

  2. In Ephesians 4:29- 32 says: When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need – words that will help others become stronger. Then what you says will do good to those who listen to you. And do not make the Holy Spirit sad. The Spirit is God’s proof that you belong to him. God gave you the Spirit to show that God will make you free when the final days comes. Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ.

    It seems from the excerpt you shared that one Prime Minister was about self and the other was reaching out in love to others. The words spoken to queen’s granddaughter were uplifting and encouraging by one Prime Minister. I love the words spoken in the Ephesians passage which states we need to say what people need to make their walk stronger with Jesus (paraphrased). Words that always flatter and that don’t necessarily come from an attitude of the heart that is right is not good. Words that come from a servant of the Lord who only wants to build up the body of Christ and is Spirit lead encourages you in your faith walk and shows you where you are tripping up are invaluable. If you listen and walk in the change of conversation/actions/attitudes you will grow stronger in character and your relationship with God. This strengthening shows true kindness and love to others. May we be passers on of this type of kindness and love.

  3. True, Dave. There is truth in what you wrote. That is like…..”beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” The “hearer” is resposible and accountable for HOW HE/SHE HEARS. Attitude does have much to do with it. Sometimes people who are going through a tough time, or when we are speaking to or teaching children, skillfull communication, words of encouragement, wisdom and good counsel are, as Rena says above, if Spirit led, invaluable in touching a life for the better.

  4. Proverbs 12:18 says “The tongue of the wise promotes health”. Proverbs 15:2 says “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly.” It does take skill to know when to affirm, confirm or approve someone’s actions, behaviors, words in such a way that they can grow healthier in spirit, mind or body. There are times when a person may perceive a word or comment as negative or non-affirming when actually the person conveying it is being honest and truthful and courteous in their delivery. Correction and confrontation about sin in our lives may seem ‘negative’ but is a wonderful, healthy positive when used by the wise tongue as in the Proverbs above.

  5. I think one’s emotions and the place one finds themselves in the walk of life determines words. Words are gifts that we receive and words are gifts that we give. What gift have have I given today? What gift have I received? This is my thoughts at the end of my day!

  6. In the Book of Hebrews 3:15, “Then while it is still called ‘today’, if you would hear AND when you hear it, do not harden your heart like the Hebrew children did in the rebellion in the desert when they provoked and disobeyed and finally made God turn from them, even though they HEARD the Word.” But since what they heard, was not being mixed with faith, they became resentful and ‘put-upon’ by the instruction, admonition and rebuke (for their own good) of Father God. They didn’t HEAR it rightly.
    It is true of us, also, seeing it is still TODAY on God’s agenda, that when we hear correction for our own good, some of us HARDEN our hearts.
    And, again in Hebrews 12:5, “My son, do not think lightly of, or scorn to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord. Don’t lose courage or give up and fall back when you are reproved or corrected by Him or by His chosen overseers in the Body of Christ. For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves and He punishes or ‘spanks’ every son whom He loves, accepts and receives.”
    Some of this can be regarded as a hard saying when it is exercised. For no discipline brings joy at the time one is being corrected and scolded by the Lord but it is painful and grievous. But Hebrews goes on to say…”You MUST submit and endure correction and discipline because God is dealing with you as sons. But if you will not Hear you are not true sons, at all.
    It is important HOW we hear. As said above…as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so is correction in the ears of the hearer. We can choose to see the beauty in an object and we can choose HEAR the LOVE in a correction.

  7. That is an excellent example for us all, Sara, as you relate above how you
    take stock of your deeds and thoughts of the day before you retire at night. It is like checking up on yourself. Someone said that we must….. “Keep short books with God.” Take stock and plan how to circumvent, on the following day any misdeeds, unedifying words, facial expressions, body language, etc. that might constitute an attitude of disrespect or discourtesy in our demeanor.

  8. Dave,
    I agree with you here….”guess it all is in the opinion of the hearer”. This reminded me of a blog posted on 8/14/07….”Perception verses Perspective”.

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