In the early 19th century, a young man in London aspired to be a writer. But everything seemed to be against him. He had never been able to attend school more than four years. His father had been thrown in jail because he couldn’t pay his debts, and this young man often knew the pangs of hunger. Finally he got a job pasting labels on bottles in a rat-infested warehouse, and he slept at night in a dismal attic room with two other boys – guttersnipes from the slums of London. He had so little confidence in his ability to write that he sneaked out and mailed his first manuscript in the dead of night so nobody would laugh at him. Story after story was refused.
Finally the great day came when one was accepted. True, he wasn’t paid for it, but one editor had praised him. One editor had given him recognition. He was so thrilled that he wandered aimlessly around the streets with tears rolling down his cheeks. The praise, the recognition that he received through getting one story in print changed his whole life. If it hadn’t been for that encouragement, he might have spent his entire life working in rat-infested factories. You may have heard of that boy. His name is Charles Dickens.
Learning: With the many discouragements that people face each day, we should never underestimate the power that our positive words can have on them. A word of encouragement to someone who is feeling down can mean the world to them and in effect change their outlook on their situation. Be an encourager when the opportunity arises so that others may be lifted up by your positive reinforcements.