The Power of Words

The Power of Words Post--Tell them what you think

My oldest daughter is home! We picked her up at the train station last night. She’s been at university this semester, and I haven’t seen her in two months. I feel like my family is complete again.

And so in honour of her being home, I thought I would tell you a story about her.

When my younger daughter Katie turned 15, Rebecca, 17 at the time, made her cry. It was a beautiful moment.

Rebecca wanted to get something for Katie for her birthday that would be memorable. And so she sent out a Facebook status saying, “if you could describe Katie in one word, what would that word be? Make it good, because I’m collecting them for her birthday!”

She hid the status from Katie’s account, and from a few of Katie’s close friends where she might see it (she sent them private messages instead), and then let the responses roll in.

She had over 50.

And then she created this “scrapbooked” picture, writing all the words out.

The Power of Words Gift

Here are just a few of those words:

Inspiring. Fun. Godly. Beautiful. Fun-Loving.

For Katie’s birthday the four of us and my mother and Keith’s parents went out to dinner, and we gave her her presents. She received a brand new computer from her father and me (she needed it for school). She was thrilled to bits.

But when she opened Rebecca’s gift, which cost a grand total of $10, her eyes welled up with tears once she realized its significance. “Who send words in, Becca?” she asked. “What did Jillian say? What did Gab say? Which words are from Micah?” Throughout the evening she peppered Rebecca with questions. And between bites she’d reach down and glance at that frame again.

It was such an amazing thing to know how all of her friends saw her, and to see that she was so admired.

Do we realize how powerful our words are? Do we realize how much praise can mean to a person?

When was the last time you gave your husband praise? Or your kids? I’ve been convicted lately that while I say “I love you” a lot, I don’t actually tell my family members WHAT it is I love about them. And after seeing the power of words on Katie’s birthday, I’m determined to change that.

Christmas gifts don’t always have to be expensive to be meaningful. Maybe you could take Rebecca’s idea and run with it yourself!

For more ideas on inexpensive Christmas gifts you can make, here’s a post Becca wrote. And if you want to know Becca better, here she is talking about “Why I Won’t Court“. I love my girls!


  1. In one of my classes at college the teacher had us each put a piece of paper on our back. Then we walked around the room writing compliments on each others papers. I loved reading the comments! I kept that paper for a long time, and the positive things on it got me through some rough times.

  2. We did this exercise as a dorm back in university. 10 years later, I still have the paper…!

  3. I love this idea.
    I can think of a few people who could do with something like this right about now – thanks!!

  4. Today a social worker I worked with for a short time left for another job. I told her I had heard only good things about her, professionally and privately. I didn’t think I was saying anything she didn’t already know, but it turned out she didn’t know! Because it was very very rare that any of her clients told her how much they appreciated her. So happy to be able to take this tiny effort and see it have such a lovely effect on her!

  5. I wish my advisor would learn this.

    He has the power to absolutely destroy my motivation and make me feel like crap in about 10-20 words.

  6. Every night a part of our evening prayers/scripture routine, we do what has been somehow dubbed our “tradition,” where we each say one thing we like about each person in the family. My hubbie got the idea from his male boss (yay men!). It has been really good for us. Sometimes when we’ve had a rough day, it has been helpful to make myself shift to thinking more positive thoughts. Sometimes it gives us a chance to say thank you for something done that we may have forgotten about, or to praise our child in front of the other parent. It has become a very important part of our day!

  7. Thanks for the idea! I’m working on one of these for my sister’s birthday right now….
    Just have to figure out how to change up the angles of all the words….so cool!

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