Clouds in the sky have always fascinated me. When I was about 4 or 5 years of age, I remember playing on the sidewalk with my older brother and other friends in front of our home in Miami, Florida.
It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon in the area of Little Havana, where we lived. My attention became fixated on the clouds. I had never noticed how the clouds moved across the sky. For some reason I thought they floated in the same space every day…silly child!
When I began observing the cloud’s movements, I became excited and started screaming to everyone around me, “The clouds are moving, the clouds are moving!” Of course, everyone ran over to me to see what I was yelling about while pointing the the sky.
They were scanning the sky looking for clowns. They were frantically looking around and asking me “what clowns?” and “where are they?”
“No, no, the clouds,” I replied insistently. They began laughing at me, calling me names and wondering how I could not know that clouds moved across the sky. It was my first great moment of intense realization of something. It was now known to me in a profound way. It was a thrilling recognition of an unprecedented event for me.
How could this incredible moment of wonder and elation turn into one of embarrassment and humiliation within seconds? The meaning I gave this event shaped my life in a negative way for many years to come.
I believed that due to my voicing aloud my discovery of the movement of clouds, I put myself in a vulnerable place and I was ridiculed for it as a result. I created a belief about speaking up in front of others that was detrimental to my social interactions. I now believed that speaking out would bring embarrassment and humiliation.
As a result of this new belief and other similar beliefs attached to it, I became shy and introverted. I would not speak up in school during class for fear of being harassed for speaking out loud the wrong answers. I was afraid to be made fun of for speaking my truth and so I clammed up and kept things to myself.
One small event can change an entire life. Just a few words from other children helped form my behavior and the way I viewed life. As adults, is it possible that we can have the same impact on children or even other adults?
No doubt! We can also impact other’s lives with positive words. We can use words of encouragement and give thoughtful advice instead of criticism and belittlement. We can also discover childhood events that may have led us to create negative beliefs and we can render these negative beliefs powerless, creating new beliefs to move us forward.
Each of us possesses enough power to alter the course of another individual’s life. All it may take is one comment, one criticism, one condemnation to affect the life of another human being. Let us use our power to help others who may be easily influenced, especially children. Let us be selective with our choice of words. Let us make positive change easier for those who surround us.