Then I learned that one of them was disappointed that his phone didn't ring with more frequency on such a special day. I immediately felt guilty. I had actually thought about calling him but pushed the idea aside when Gary and I got involved in watching a good movie. Pretty lame, I know. But the whole incident is causing me to reconsider the power of a simple spoken word.
The smallest compliment given to one of my on-line students produces miles of smiles (or at least that's what I envision when they write back to thank me). An acknowledgement of a race well run seems to give my runners an added boost of confidence in the next practice. Thanking the preacher, acknowledging the musicians visibly produce signs of encouragement. Even making a grumpy Wal-Mart cashier smile seems like the right thing to do.
All these things are good. No, they're great. But I think we forget that those same positive, uplifting comments we consciously dole out to the friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and others are far too rare inside our own four walls.
Why is it that we miss opportunities to speak a kind word or acknowledge a job well done to the ones we love the most? I don't think we intend to be neglectful. It's that we simply take them for granted a little more than we should. Our children and spouses, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, should never have to wonder if they are special. They should never have to wait to be told they are loved. The sounds of silence should not be our song of choice.