A HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER changed my life with one sentence.
That sounds like I’m exaggerating. But, you be the judge.
It’s a short story, just a little longer than a sentence.
I took an English class in creative writing. Or maybe it was just a unit of study; I can’t recall.
But here was my situation when the teacher said what she did.
I was working in a gas station after school. I missed out on all the after-school events, because I had my after-school event: pumping gas, fixing flats, and changing oil in cars.
Every adult I knew in my extended family had worked in West Virginia coal mines. My dad, both sets of my grandfathers, and all of my uncles. I had a lot of uncles.
Relatives who escaped the mines worked in factories, including my dad.
Both of my brothers grew up to work in factories.
That was the road ahead for me. It was the only road I knew, or that my family knew.
A teacher knew a different road:
“I think you should consider a career in writing.”
Well, that’s nice. But I hadn’t considered a career.
Her words stuck with me. They were, at the time, the only words I remember anyone ever saying to me about my future.
I eventually came to the place where I thought that if she thought I could do it, then I would try.
I knew nothing about where I was going, or how to get there. All I knew is that someone said I should think about it.
So, I say to any of you who are still reading this: Think about the words you say today, this week, this month.
One sentence can change a life.
I have a wife, two grown children, two wonderful-in-laws they married, and five grandchildren. They owe the lives they are living to that one sentence.
Ancient advice, nicely aged
Perhaps 3,000 years ago or more an insightful writer had this to say about the power of words:
“You’ll get a wonderful bellyful of satisfaction by choosing your words well.
You’ll be happy you said what you did, and didn’t say what you didn’t”
(Proverbs 18:20, Casual English Bible).