Just yesterday as I walked back home after dropping my kids off at school, I stopped at the market to buy some tomatoes. The trader was a short, dark and plump elderly woman, I met her displaying her goods for sale. I have always known her as the ‘mama’ who wore a frown on her face. She asks a little girl of about 9 years old to give me what I wanted.
The girl appeared nervous and was acting very confused. She was afraid and seemed like she did not want to make mistakes. And then this frowning ‘mama’ who happens to be a grandmother, starts to hurl curses at this little child. She spoke all kinds of unimaginable words to her, the last I remember being that she was a fool.
The girl gave me my tomatoes and was trying to hand over my change after I paid. Guess what, this supposed mother figure in her life started cursing at her again. She told her that she was too slow and foolish. She also said to her, ‘you are senseless and nothing short of an animal.’
This little girl looked broken. She had this distant look on her face. Her mates were presently at school while she gets ready to hawk her goods for the day. She must have heard words strong enough to lose her identity. I wonder how many of these words have become her reality.
She handed my money to me while I enjoyed my morning walk back home. I thought about her as I walked and about this supposed mother figure in her life. I wondered why a grandmother would feel so comfortable cursing a little child.
Was it because the girl was not her child or grandchild? Was she only venting her frustration on that little girl? Does she know that words are powerful enough to build or destroy? Why is that girl not even in school?
And yes, we all have children in our lives. A son, a daughter, an orphan, a pupil or that child who has no one to care for him or her.
We must never break them with our words. We must never see them as burdens. We must always strive to invest in their future. We must always speak life-giving words to them.
Let us build them up brick by brick, layer by layer, with each word, with each prayer, with each affirmation. And as we do, we are only shaping and influencing the generation after us.
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