Rick and I ended up having a private conversation with our one son about this and the power of words. I found myself saying, "You are going to be known by people no matter what, it's your choice if its going to be for good or bad." This son is very well known by people and very loved. He is very confident and has a lot going for him. He is very service oriented, smiles a lot, willing to reach out to those that need a friend, etc. I have people tell me all of the time that he is loved and teachers appreciate him in their class.
Right now he is known for good, but we talked about with each decision in our lives it can change the course of how people know us and how we feel about ourselves. I found myself thinking back to my elementary, junior high and high school years and I could think of a few people by name that were mean to me or my friends. They didn't throw a physical punch, but an emotional punch that has stuck with me. Thirty years later I still remember those people. I also remember the teachers, youth leaders, friends that made a positive impact on my life. I feel good about those people and am happy to see them years later.
By no means am I saying that we base our acceptance or value on what people think about us, but each of us will known for good or bad by those around us and we have to make a choice. It is a daily, minute by minute choice on how we treat others, because it does make a difference in our lives.
Let's be a force for good! Make a difference one word at a time, one kind act at a time - a smile, holding the door open for someone, a hug, a compliment, etc,