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I was walking across a parking lot a few days ago heading towards a big box store when I came across a mother blasting her child for what appeared to be some insignificant error on the child’s part. And I mean BLASTING in a cruel, mean, and vicious way. Think drill sergeant.

Ouch, grimace, embarrassment, and I even felt a little anger.

Now, to be fair, I’d never seen these people before so I don’t know the history of the child or the mother, and it is always better not to judge until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes, but that didn’t change my icky feeling.

Here is what popped into my noggin. “Our words leave marks just as our feet leave footprints.”

I’m not sure where that came from so I Googled it. There was no author, so it must be mine. An original………….umm

Here’s my point. We need to think before we speak. You already know that. You have experienced unkind and critical words that left bruises on your soul.

I’ve been thinking about this for days now and have tried to calculate how often I’ve been guilty of causing bruises (maybe even tattoos) and compared those experiences to a recent walk on a South Carolina beach. It didn’t go well. I need to do a lot better.

As a leader, parent, spouse, or friend, we better do more counting. Motivated followers are created through motivational words. Words that are kinder and softer.

So, the next time someone isn’t performing at levels that meet your standard, stop and think before you speak. You can’t suck the words back after they’ve been spoken, and the words don’t just wash away like a footprint in the sand when another wave rolls in.

I hope your mama spoke kinder words to you…………mine sure did to me………..stay in touch and have a great week……………..Mark

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