Kenny had been told that he was worthless for as long as he could remember. He was often called a loser and told that he was good for nothing. The fifteen-year-old had no reason to doubt the validity of these messages that were etched deeply within his very being. His father had abandoned the family when he was four. Kenny remembers the day his father left to go to 7-11 for coffee. He never returned. His mother never failed to remind him of her disdain for men, and often let him know that he was just like his father.
Sometimes it doesn’t take much to change a life.
Mr. Smith vividly remembers Kenny walking into his tenth grade English class, quiet and withdrawn, radiating sadness. Over the course of that tenth grade year, Mr. Smith worked with Kenny, helping him to recognize and build upon his strengths. Mr. Smith was consistent, reliable, compassionate, and uplifting- things that Kenny desperately needed. Mr. Smith believed in Kenny, and slowly Kenny began to believe in himself. With the help of Mr. Smith, Kenny began to challenge those beliefs that had been ingrained in him at such a young age. He began to replace them with feelings of self-worth. Mr. Smith’s influence was life changing. Kenny had found someone who believed in him.
Whether we are five or fifty-five, we need to know that someone believes in us. Sometimes, that alone, is the first step towards believing in ourselves. Do not underestimate the power you have to change a life. Take the time to listen to someone, show them empathy, and let them know that you believe in them. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to change a life.