Can One Passing Comment To a Child Really Make a Difference?
In previous blogs I wrote about our community’s role in education for our youth, opportunities to be involved with young people in a positive way, and listening to the opinions of young people. During the summer months as kids are interacting with lots of different adults, let’s consider the power of adult influences on a young person’s life.
How Teachers Comments Make a Difference
My 7th grade biology teacher wrote one comment on my report card that I remember clearly all these decades later. He gave me a “C” and wrote “has potential”. I wasn’t sure what he meant and asked him about it. He said I could be a very good student, but I wasn’t. Why that statement stuck with me, I couldn’t say. I know that throughout my high school years I generally underperformed – either to please a boyfriend or to stay out of the spotlight…both pitiful reasons to not do well in school and embarrassing to share. But somehow I hung onto the comment of that one teacher and always believed that I was a smart kid.
How Coaches Comments Make a Difference
There’s a story of a coach who, upon seeing the report card of one of his students, commented to the boy that “his grades were good, but not good enough for college”. Some 12 years later, the former student relayed to the coach that until that comment, he never considered college as an option, but because it was put out there, he worked at it and went to college – simply because of a passing remark from an adult.
Think about What You Say To a Kid
Often teachers, coaches, summer camp counselors, neighbors and others who make a positive difference never get to hear about it. Those seemingly casual comments can be so powerful. They can be motivating and inspiring. They can also be crushing to an adolescent. It depends on the adult, the child, the setting, the tone of voice, or even something that happened earlier in the day.
Who Influenced You?
What’s your story? Can you recall a comment from a teacher or other adult? One that stuck with you and made a difference in some way?
Please share your memory – it might inspire someone to make a difference for a young person – this summer!