Saturday, April 22, 2017

Positive Words, Powerful Results by Hal Urban

Educator Hal Urban reminds his readers of the power of words in Positive Words, Powerful Results. Words create pictures in our minds. They influence our buying decisions and health. One of the most important things about words is that we can chose how to use them, whether to build up or to tear down.

Urban encourages people to use words to build up. Use kind, affirming, complimentary words. Tell people what they are doing right. Express interest in people and ask them about themselves.

In addition to influencing others, words can reveal what is going on inside of us. Our choice of words reveals whether our thoughts and feelings are positive or negative. As Jesus put it, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings for that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings for that which is evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

If we want to produce positive words that help people, we need to be concerned about what goes into that treasure of our hearts. There is a lot of trash out there and if we don’t limit our exposure, we can easily become full of it. There is also plenty of good and we can seek it out. Just as we choose what we say, we can also choose much of what we hear.

Though it is couched in a discussion of the words we use, Urban is engaging a larger issue of how we treat each other. He encourages kindness, gentleness and generosity. These virtues may demand more than words, but they still demand expression in speech; they cannot be advanced by harshness and complaining.

Urban’s background as a teacher comes through both in the examples he draws on and the way he writes. The book is not written for children, but I think it is within the grasp of high school students and possibly younger children, particularly if an adult were going through the book with them.

If you’re interested in this book, you may also be interested in

Urban, Hal. Positive Words, Powerful Results: Simple Ways to Honor, Affirm, and Celebrate Life. New York: Fireside, 2004.