Watch What You Say

"Now don't you go getting any ideas, Harold."

"Don't you get any ideas either, Terry."

"Don't you two get any ideas."

The young mother's words to her small children echoed in my head for several days. While I realized she was probably warning them to not do something against her wishes or something that could harm them, I can't help but wonder about the effects that a situation like that, heard over and over for a period of years, will have on their lives and their ability to realize their potential.

Flash forward - It's 20 years later and now little Howard and Terry are all grown up, sitting in a conference room where they both work as marketing managers, having graduated at the top of their classes in college.

The CEO is pacing back and forth saying, "Okay gang, what we need now, if we want to save this company, are some really good ideas." As their bosses words trail off, Howard and Terry are jolted back in time to that day at the Eagle Diner. All they can hear is their mother's voice telling them not to get any ideas. The conflict that this is causing has blocked their creative abilities. The contribution they might have made has been stifled by a poor choice of phrasing some 20 years ago.

I know this sounds a bit extreme but if you stop and think about it, this happens all the time. We are constantly being conditioned by the messages we hear, especially in our formative years.

We use phrases like "don't get smart" and then wonder why children are doing poorly in school. There is a connection. Whatever is repeated, over and over, will be absorbed into the sub­conscious mind of the person listening, in this case your children. McDonalds knows this, as does every other successful advertiser.

In my seminars I ask people to complete this phrase. Winston tastes good like a ____. Even audience members in their 20's can complete this advertising slogan, though it hasn't been used for more than 20 years. The words you choose and the phrases you use repeatedly will have a lasting impact on your children. Why not choose words that will help them realize their potential as unique, creative, bright, loving, powerful and successful human beings?

Imagine what could happen if you made a habit of using positive, empowering, self-esteem building messages every day? Imagine all your children could become!

Decide right now to create some positive messages you can implant in the young minds of your children. Make a daily habit of using positive messages when speaking to your children.

For example, you might say, "You know (childs name), every day you're getting better and better in every way." (This is a take off on a phrase from Claude Bristol's classic self help book, The Magic of Believing).

© 2004 Jim Donovan - PO Box 1147, Buckingham, PA 18912 - (215) 794-3826

Jim Donovan is the author of "Handbook to a Happier Life, a motivational speaker and coach. For a no cost bonus product & more, visit http://www.JimDonovan.com

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