The Power of the Pow-Wow

 

Andy Wright
Photo Credit: Andy Wright via CC Flickr

One of the worst things that a person experiences throughout their lifetime are negative comments and hurtful words. They can be devastating. They can tear down an individual’s self-esteem, sense of worth, and confidence. It has been said that for every negative comment that is said to someone, that person would then need seven positive remarks to offset that one negative comment.  It has been proven, that when a person is given encouragement and reassuring words, they perform better in their workplace, become happier, and have a deeper sense of value and importance.

Consider this…how much better would people feel and act if positive and heartening words were the norm instead of the common everyday vernacular of negativity?

tribe

Take for example the following African tribe. In this tribe, when someone does something wrong, they take the person to the center of the village where the entire tribe surrounds the individual and for two days say all the good things that the person has done in their life. The tribe believes that each person is good but sometimes people make mistakes which are really a cry for help. They unite to reconnect with them and their good nature.

What a beautiful demonstration of a community’s love and concern for one of their own! Again I ask, shouldn’t we try to emulate this kind of behavior towards our family and friends every day (or when it is needed?)

As some of you know, I am a teacher and a sports coach. A few years ago, one of my teams was going through a tough stretch. There was a lot of in-fighting, accusations, and ill-will between team members. Something had to be done…so, I came up with a plan. The idea was called a “Pow-Wow” mainly because I used to really like the idea of the Native American Indians spending their time together in their tee-pees, fellowshipping and sharing their thoughts and concerns together.

The “Pow-Wow” consisted of all of my players sitting in a circle (myself included), with one of the individuals holding a ball. The person with the ball in their possession was not allowed to speak. One-by-one, each of the other players would share constructive criticism with their teammate. Negative personal comments were not allowed. Once every player “holds the ball,” The process starts over again. This time, nothing but encouraging, reassuring, and emboldening comments are shared. The beautiful result was that when the players left the “Pow-Wow” there was a noticeably higher level of confidence, camaraderie, and team spirit which continued until the end of the season. Those positive and motivating words healed a broken team and helped drive the team to a successful season. I have used this “Pow-Wow” method a few times during my 32 years of coaching and it has ALWAYS lead to fantastic results…all because of positive and uplifting words.

Thus, the Power of the Pow-Wow!

Remember…ONE KIND WORD can change a person’s entire day!!

 

 

The Mother Who Became A Hero

I have always found that the power of words and what people say to other individuals, a fascinating thing. We all know how much words can affect people…whether they be good or bad…we all need to watch and be careful what we say. Sometimes words that are spoken wrongly, can hurt or crush a soul, while transversely, words that are vocalized in a positive manner, can uplift and encourage a person…sometimes more than they could ever imagine.

Thomas Edison
Photo Credit: Unknown

Such is a story that I found on the web site, The Meta Picture.com It a story about a mother who changed her son’s life forever. The son later became a famous American inventor and enjoyed world-wide fame. This is a great lesson about the power of words.

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One day, when Thomas Edison was just a boy, he came home after school one day and gave a paper to his mother. He told her, “My teacher gave this paper to me and told me to only give it to my mother.”

His mother’s eyes were tearful as she read the letter out loud to her child: “Your son is a genius. This school is too small for him and doesn’t have enough good teachers to teach and train him. Please teach him yourself.”

Several years later, after Edison’s mother died and he was now one of the greatest inventors of the century, Thomas was looking through some old family things when he came across a folded paper in the corner of a drawer in a desk. He took it and opened it up. On the paper it read: “Your son is addled (mentally ill). We won’t let him come to school anymore.

Edison cried and cried for hours and then he wrote in his diary: “Thomas Alva Edison was an addled child that, by a hero mother, became the genius of the century.”

Defeating Despair: The Power of Encouragement

Photo Credit: Jessiee Cuizon via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Jessiee Cuizon via CC Flickr

There is nothing worse in the world today than a person who has lost their vision, desire and hope to fulfill their dreams. Negative comments, hurtful words, and discouraging actions, can all lead an individual to having a disheartening sense of doom and despair. If left in this state for lengths of time, it can cause un-needed levels of distress and deep scars that can last, sometimes, for a lifetime.

So, what is something that can counteract despair? What can people do to help someone that is struggling with their life…or better yet, what can they do to prevent someone else from facing despair? Through Encouragement. It was once said that for every 1 negative comment a person said to another individual…it takes 7 positive comments or actions to counter. Sometimes, just giving people simple words of encouragement or a nod of satisfaction can do wonders to a person’s self-confidence. There are many, many times, that all a person really needs is a hug or that human touch. I previously posted a story called “The Power of A Human Touch” that you can check out here.

What I decided to do in today’s blog was to post three separate stories of encouragement which show the true power of a positive word or action. It is my hope that these short stories will, in some way, touch your heart in a helpful way.

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It wasn’t like Scott Kregel to give up. He was a battler, a dedicated athlete who spent hour after hour perfecting his free throws and jump shots during the hot summer months of 1987. But just before fall practice everything changed. A serious car accident left Scott in a coma for several days.

When he awoke, a long rehabilitation process lay ahead. Like most patients with closed head injuries, Scott balked at doing the slow, tedious work that was required to get him back to normal — things such as stringing beads. What high school junior would enjoy that?

Tom Martin, Scott’s basketball coach at the Christian school he attended, had an idea. Coach Martin told Scott that he would reserve a spot on the varsity for him — if he would cooperate with his therapist and show progress in the tasks he was asked to do. And Tom’s wife Cindy spent many hours with Scott, encouraging him to keep going.

Within 2 months, Scott was riding off the basketball court on his teammates’ shoulders. He had made nine straight free throws to clinch a triple-overtime league victory.

It was a remarkable testimony of the power of encouragement.

~ Readers Digest

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC FLickr
Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC FLickr

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Jean Nidetch, a 214 pound homemaker desperate to lose weight, went to the New York City Department of Health, where she was given a diet devised by Dr. Norman Jolliffe.

Two months later, discouraged about the 50 plus pounds still to go, she invited six overweight friends home to share the diet and talk about how to stay on it.

Today, 28 years later, one million members attend 250,000 Weight Watchers meetings in 24 countries every week.

Why was Nidetch able to help people take control of their lives?

To answer that, she tells a story.

When she was a teen-ager, she used to cross a park where she saw mothers gossiping while the toddlers sat on their swings, with no one to push them. “I’d give them a push,” says Nidetch. “And you know what happens when you push a kid on a swing? Pretty soon he’s pumping, doing it himself. That’s what my role in life is–I’m there to give others a push.”

Irene Sax in Newsday.

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr

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Edward Steichen, who eventually became one of the world’s most renowned photographers, almost gave up on the day he shot his first pictures.

At 16, young Steichen bought a camera and took 50 photos. Only one turned out — a portrait of his sister at the piano. Edward’s father thought that was a poor showing. But his mother insisted that the photograph of his sister was so beautiful that it more than compensated for 49 failures.

Her encouragement convinced the youngster to stick with his new hobby. He stayed with it for the rest of his life, but it had been a close call.

What tipped the scales?

The vision to spot excellence in the midst of a lot of failure.

Bits & Pieces, February 4, 1993, pp. 4-5.

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Celestine Chua vis CC Flickr

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