As a parent, I’ve never felt more helpless than I did last Thursday. Sitting in the ER watching the nurses inject the anesthetic into our daughter’s head, trying to do what little I could to comfort her, but there was nothing I could do.

What Our 3-Year Old Taught Me About Speaking Life Into Others

Only an hour before, she’d been playing and enjoying her day. Now, after falling and splitting the back of her head open, she was exposed to a previously unknown level of pain. She reacted like you would expect a three-year old to react: She cried and resisted.

That’s when a kind and gentle nurse named Gina came in. She wasn’t fake as the previous nurse had been. Aracelli can see right through that. But she was genuinely nice and helped Aracelli to calm down. Just moments later, she was all stapled up and ready to go home. What happened next spoke life into Gina.

Leaving the ER

As we were leaving the ER, Aracelli looked over the nurses’ counter and said to the kind, gentle nurse:

“You’re such a nice girl.”

Five simple words. That was all.

“Thank you” would have sufficed. “I appreciate your help” would have worked. But instead she complimented her very character. She spoke life into her.

The simplest words can be life-changing, if only you speak them. Don’t hold back!

Gina’s face lit up and so did that of others around her. And as we left, some of the shock of the day wore off. My face, too, lit up.

I believe that something on the inside of that nurse came alive in that moment. I believe that five simple words from a three-year old could be life changing.

Best Day Ever

Just a day earlier, while on a call with my friend, Mark Sieverkropp, Aracelli walked into my office. As is often the case, Aracelli wanted to say hello to Mark. At the end of their brief conversation, she told Mark something that spoke life into him.

Here’s how Mark puts it:

When is the last time you told someone that talking to them made it your best day ever? Or even that it was awesome to talk with them? When is the last time you said that to someone you hardly know?

Losing our Filter

The reason why Aracelli was able to speak life into that nurse and into Mark is that she hasn’t developed the filter that most of us have that says:

  • Don’t say anything weird.
  • I’m not eloquent.
  • I don’t know what to say.
  • Will they think I’m up to something?

When you speak life into others, they are blessed…and so are you.

Aracelli doesn’t have that filter yet. Lacking that filter is what allows her to speak life into others with powerful, yet simple words.

Resolve today not to let these moments pass you by. Don’t waste those moments when you could speak life into someone. Here are five ways to speak life into others.

5 Ways to Speak Life into Others

  1. When someone serves with excellence, make it a point to genuinely compliment him or her.
  2. When someone helps you, make it a point to share with him exactly how he helped you and what that meant to you.
  3. Take the time to write thank you notes. Go into detail about what that person means to you.
  4. Compliment others freely. Don’t hold anything back.
  5. Offer a genuine smile. (Learn how to smile more)

Don’t hold back.

Don’t give into the filter.

Don’t miss the chance to change someone’s life and ultimately change the world.

Don’t miss the blessing that comes to you and to others.

Speak life into someone today.

How will you speak life into someone else today?

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17 thoughts on “What Our 3-Year Old Taught Me About Speaking Life Into Others

  1. Adam Witmer says:

    Great post, Matt. It really is amazing how much we can learn from the innocence and authenticity of children.

  2. Let's Grow Leaders says:

    Ugh, I’m so sorry you went through that. Sebastian broke his arm this summer. There’s nothing worse than watching your child in horrible pain. It says a lot that she took the time to “speak life” into the nurse. I wish grown-ups would take time to do that. We’re far more quick to complain than compliment.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      No kidding. I’ve had stitches and serious injuries…nothing compared to watching her in pain.

  3. Zechariah Newman says:

    Great post Matt. Sounds like you are helping to mold a little world changer.

    Sorry you had to make that emergency room run, but I’m glad she’s OK.

  4. Jon Stolpe says:

    Fantastic post, Matt. Are you sure your daughter meant to say that to Mark Sieverkropp though? 🙂

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      HA! Not 100% certain.

    2. Mark Sieverkropp says:

      She may’ve been looking at a stuffed animal or something when she said it Jon…

      1. Matt McWilliams says:

        Seems logical.

      2. Jon Stolpe says:

        This could be the case. 😉

    3. Lily Kreitinger says:

      At her young age, she may have a small pool of people to compare to 🙂

      1. Jon Stolpe says:

        I think she may need to network more to expand her pool. I know of a Networking Live event coming up. Oh, never mind, Mark Sieverkropp is one of the featured speakers.

  5. Rick Siderfin says:

    This is a really interesting post, Matt. I had never thought of it quite this way before. Kids are so refreshingly direct and as you rightly point out we can learn from it.

    Thanks for sharing and I hope Aracelli makes a quick recovery. I always find hospitals to be full of inspiration – the work done by nurses and healthcare workers really is extraordinary.

    PS I recall my youngest, Arnie, shouting “Why is that man so fat, Dad?!” in a supermarket when he was three…!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      HA! Yep, the same lack of filter that causes her to say such nice things is the same reason she will blurt out “It smells like passed gas” after a guest uses the bathroom. Oops.

  6. Mark Sieverkropp says:

    Love this post Matt! As folks can gather from the post, I’ve experienced Aracelli’s kindness first hand. She is wonderful at making your feel great. She’s a very special little girl and a great example to me!
    In my role in my church I’ve found myself with many more opportunities to see all the little things that other members do to lift burdens and help one another. I try to go out of my way to let them know that I appreciate it and that they are great examples to me. It’s neat to see how people visibly brighten up when you go out of your way to let them know that you appreciate them and let them know that something they’ve done has affected you!
    Thanks for sharing Matt!

  7. Heidi Bender says:

    This is an awesome post! I hope Aracelli is recovering okay.

    I received a compliment today from a very unexpected source today. It wasn’t from a child but it still made my day!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      She is recovering just wonderfully. Thanks Heidi.

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