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Monday, March 31, 2008

Fun Monday - Words...Inspire, Expire

Robin, today’s Fun delegator, asked us to share inspiring favorite quotes. As I rolled ideas through my head, my thoughts kept returning to an event from my youth

The words spoken were not inspiring in their delivery. The person who ran with them wasn’t me. And, the life changing event belonged to someone else. But I remember it all so very well.

My friend Evonne was a skinny little curly haired moppet. We weren’t best friends, but we were close. We shared a classroom every year from 2nd through 8th grade. High school tumbled us into other peer groups and our friendship was loosely maintained. But then the incident happened during our senior year that changed her life forever.

Mrs. L was very old. Had anyone asked, I would have suggested she was 107. She was Evonne's and my senior advisor. I don’t recall one word the woman spoke to me during counseling. However, I do remember what she said to Evonne.

On one particular day a very distraught and teary-eyed 17-year old left Mrs. L’s office.

Evonne sobbed from behind a soggy tissue to her friends that day. “She might as well have told me I was stupid.”

“She told me ‘You are not college material.’ Can you believe she said that?” Evonne questioned.

Then the still tiny, but spunky frizzy haired young woman made a bold statement.

“I’ll show her!”

…and then she did!

Evonne‘s curly head was nose down in her studies the remainder of that year. Following graduation she found employment and began working her way through college. She finished her 4 years and headed to graduate school. Not very many years later I heard that she was a PHD and a professor at a university in Tennessee.

Negative words don’t always prompt someone to invest in themselves so wisely. Whenever I think of the inspiration and motivation that pushed Evonne, I am also reminded that there are many others who are overwhelmed and discouraged by the carelessness of our words.

My inspirational quote today IS in honor of my old friend Evonne (I know you are out there somewhere. )

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Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21

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Get your weekly Fun Monday fix by joining the other participants hosted by Pensieve. I promise - this week will be inspirational.

42 comments:

swampy said...

Your post reminds me of...words are like feathers, you let them go into the wind...you can never 'gather' them up again.

Celeste said...

I wish we all had that power to turn the negative comment into gold.

mjd said...

Good for Evonne...I am glad that her outcome was successful.

kitten said...

I'm glad that she was inspired and not knocked down. I LOVE that Proverb!

Melanie said...

Wow- how great that she took that terrible comment and used it to prove that advisor wrong!

Faye said...

Thankfully these kinds of teachers and counselors are the exception not the rule. How many students go on to college--myself included--because of the encouraging words of a teacher. Good for Evonne to prove this sorry excuse for an educator wrong.

Jenni said...

What a great story!

Alison said...

wonderful quote...good for Evonne, what a strong woman...what an inspiration for us all.

Kaytabug said...

Ohhhh that quote is so true!!!
What a inspiring story too!!!

dawn said...

What a wonderful story. It is great when people take the bull by the horns and through sheer perseverance, overcome negative words. Great quote from proverbs.

My Fun Monday will be up tomorrow.

Gattina said...

Wow ! that was hard ! I don't know what my reaction would have been, but certainly not crying and not studying more, lol !

Peter said...

Are you telling me that the guy wh told me I was a bloody idiot was really trying to help me???
I thought he was right so I just quit trying!!!!!!

Stephanie said...

Amen, my friend!! Rock on!!

Jo Beaufoix said...

What an amazing story. The same thing happened to my friend Karen. It damaged her too, in that her confidence was pretty low for a while, but she just kept going.
I hate that people who have such influence on our kids can be so unkind, but that's life I suppose, and there are more that do good. :D

ChrisB said...

It isn't only teachers who have influence and can be hurtful ~ I remember to this day my grandfather telling me I would not pass the exams to get into grammar school but that my brother would fly through. Surprise I did pass~ my brother got onto the waiting list and eventually got there~ but that feeling of not quite being good enough has never left me~ silly really but that's the way it is even reading this has brought back a vivid picture of that day 54 yrs ago(age 10)!

heather said...

You know, for all the times the Bible talks about my tongue causing problems, you might think it was trying to tell me something.

Hootin' Anni said...

I call it....stubborn. If someone tells me I can't do it...I show them!!! Good for the Tennessee gal!!!!

SwampAngel65 said...

Great story and great quote...so very true. I wonder if that advisor told her that on puepose, to kick her into gear, or if she really thought that? I'm hoping she did it to light a fire and hope that she eventually heard how well your friend did to "show her"!

nikki said...

I love your stories. Great job and great for your friend for not listening and proving the counselor wrong.

Jenn And The City said...

Excellent story. Thanks so much for sharing.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Hey! I think that's the same counselor who told me I'd never get into med school and I actually believed her. What was I thinking?

Good for your friend. That took a lot of guts.

Rose said...

Wow! What an inspiring story

Joy T. said...

The outcome could have been so different but I believe it takes a special kind of person to rise above the hurtful words of others. Good for Evonne! I hope she's happy in her life.

Robin (the PENSIEVE one) said...

Well told, well-remembered. It would be so cool for Evonne to read your post; to have risen beyond the expectation of that "counselor" speaks volumes about her determination. Your story is a perfect example of the tongue's power...it's why I pray out loud with my kids, so they can know my heart and what I desire most for them.

Doesn't it make you sad to know that Evonne most likely wasn't the only person to ever hear that, though? I wonder what happened with the others....:/.

(I'm having so much fun this week...I wanna bookmark EVERYONE'S page!)

:)

Susie said...

Great post! Evonne truly proved her wrong didn't she! I hope she went back for a reunion and Mrs. L was there...
Love the Proverbs verse...
xo

IamwhoIam said...

Good proverb, what am I to do with all my satire?

Grim Reality Girl said...

I love the verse too. I love the spirit of your friend -- may we all be like her and turn hurts into motivation to achieve!

Sayre said...

Evonne definitely turned a negative into a positive. It was just the spur she needed to get her horse going. But mostly it worked that way because of her can-do attitude. "I'll show her!" If only more people could react in that way...

jennifer said...

Oh Wow! What a great story to remind me to watch my words.

Great idea to use negatively spoken words as inspiration!

Jennifer

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

It's too bad the counselor said that, in a way, but I'm glad it motivated your friend to prove Mrs. L wrong.

Tiggerlane said...

Good for Evonne, for not letting those words haunt her and chain her for her entire life. I know that negative comments will stick with me and nag at me for days...even if I have been given 10 compliments over the same time period. Oh, I need more gumption, like Evonne!

Karmyn R said...

If only everyone could take words of negativity and use them to their advantage to succeed. Way to go Evonne!!!

the planet of janet said...

that's a wonderful story.

and good for evonne that she was inspired to conquer rather than lick her wounds and retreat.

my4kids said...

That is a great quote and very true as well.
"I will show her!" can be a quote as well! Madison uses it a lot maybe not out loud but in her actions when ever someone doesn't think she is capable of something.

Kila said...

What a terrific post. Thanks for sharing that story. I'm so proud of her!

storyteller said...

Thanks for your visit to my first Fun Monday on Quotes at Small Reflections and leaving the link back here. Your anecdote and quote are timely reminders about the power of words … and about how it’s not what happens, but rather how we respond that’s important. I love the name of your blog and the tag-line … and look forward to visiting again as time permits.
Hugs and blessings,

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Of all the Fun Monday posts, this was my favorite.

I needed that inspiration today.

Karina said...

Great quote and what an wonderfully inspiring story! Good for Evonne, she sure showed her! :D

lisa marie said...

I tried for years to get that message through to my step-son. I thin it finally took. :)

Susie Q said...

Beautiful message...words have impact, for good and bad, on all of us. Go Evonne! She was amazing!

Thank you for this dear Pamela!

Hugs,
Sue

judypatooote said...

Wow, no truer words were ever spoken, or should I say written... POWER OF THE TONGUE.....just take a look at what is written and said in this election.....the power of the tongue sure can hurt people....

Your friend must have been a special person to take that advisors words to heart, and do something about it..... nice post Pamela...... judy

Sandy said...

Beautiful post, Pamela. How wonderful for your friend that she turned that negativity into gold.

Thank you.