Kids are impressionable.
They remember those who take the time to reach out and encourage them. A teacher, a parent, a friend, a coach…it can be anyone who takes the time to let them know they notice something special in them.
Many great people point back to moments like this as being turning points in their young lives. The interest of a caring adult causes them to look at themselves differently, to start thinking about a brighter future.
Bill Orender shares such a moment from his life in Chapter One of my book How Million Dollar Earner Bill Orender Found His Way To The Top.
Here’s an excerpt:
My father thought it was stupid for me to play high school athletics. He thought it was stupid for me to go to college. We didn’t go to church. Nobody in my family had a college degree. Nobody ever owned their own business. Everybody was either a factory worker or a truck driver. They came out of the depression era where if you survived and paid your bills, then that was good enough.
When I got older, I was very fortunate to start hanging around people who were better than me, smarter than me, and they took me to new places. I heard a great quote today: “If you’re the smartest person in your group you better change your group.” I have about five men in my life who took me to new levels of thought and success in life and encouraged me during those major mile markers. Art Williams, of course, was one of those.
But when I was growing up, I never heard a good word. No one said I had potential. I wasn’t a good athlete, wasn’t a good scholar. Wasn’t good in science and math. I played ball but I wasn’t the best. Still, from very early on I can remember thinking, “I want to do something special with my life. I want to make my life count.” And that desire has served me well over the years.
Not every child has such a moment, and that’s a shame.
At the impressionable time of their life, it’s a shame they all don’t get a meaningful kind and encouraging word about the possibility of them having a bright future.
Make a difference. Encourage a child. They’ll remember.
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