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.
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