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  “As a man thinketh, so is he.”

– James Allen

There’s an activity that we do in the AOTG program called “toilet paper mummies”. In it, we wrap kids up in toilet paper. We split them up in groups and wrap one kid from each group up. We give them magic markers and tell them to write anything negative that anyone has ever said to them. So they go and they write all these words. At first, they laugh and make jokes. Then, after a few minutes, there’s a shift in the mood. The atmosphere changes as that laughter subsides to a feeling of sorrow. The room suddenly gets a bit darker. Suddenly, the kids aren’t talking as much. There’s a lot less laughter.

I did this activity with a group of adults one time and one woman refused to do it. She said, “In writing certain words, I’m going to open up some memories that I’ve worked hard to lock away.” I told her that it was fine. She stood with her arms crossed and watched as everyone else wrote on the mummy. The woman’s situation really stuck with me because I realized that even as adults, the names we've been called in our childhood still have the power to affect us.

As a man thinketh in his heart so is he. This means that the words that we say to ourselves will ring the most true in our minds. Eventually, they will affect our perspective on ourselves.

As I’ve mentioned before, a mighty oak tree is not toppled with one swing of the axe. Instead, it takes tens, hundreds, or even thousands of tiny small chops to bring it down. After awhile, even the mightiest of trees will fall to the sharp swift blade of the axe. So as these words are heard, they chop like the blade. They cut down the mighty oak swing by swing.

So my word today is to encourage. Speak life. Let’s start with ourselves; let’s speak life into ourselves. The things that we say to ourselves will eventually lead to the character we have. The things that we say to ourselves will be the things that we say to others. We actually do treat people the way we think we should be treated. If we’re used to being treated abusively, then chances are we will probably treat others in the same way. If we're used to being built up and poured into, you can bet your bottom dollar that’s how we're going to treat other people.  

For sweet fruit does not come from sour trees, neither do rotten fruits come from good trees. So let’s start at the root. Let's start at the core. Let's speak life first to ourselves and then to others. Let's see how many trees we can water. Let's see how many trees we can build. Let's see how much good fruit we can produce.

Get after it.




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