Friday night is date night. We spend the time talking about what has made us happy or sad over the last week. It's our time. But my husband, being the guy he is, loves to talk to the wait staff at the restaurants. They are mostly college students. By the time we leave he has usually found out what their major, GPA and future plans are. It's tradition.
One night we had dinner with 'Tiffany.' She was a local gal who attended the county school system and graduated 2nd in her class. Wow. Pretty impressive. She's attending a local community college after nearly failing at the 'holy grail' --the University of Georgia her first semester. "What Happened?" we exclaimed, ..."too many outside activities." No. It was over her head intellectually...that was her response. Then she went on to say something that absolutely broke my heart.
While in high school, Tiffany was joint enrolled. She attended honors classes in school and at the local community college. the same school she is at now. She made all A's. She had a psychology professor who humiliated her in class one day. There she was, a high school senior, and he called on her. The classroom was full of college students. He asked her about a 5 step cognitive process that children go through as they progress from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. The step she missed was: THE CRITICAL THINKING AGE. He then began to berate her and ended with..."What are you doing here? You don't belong here. You haven't reached the critical thinking age...you need to go back to middle school." He went on to tell her that she'd never make it at UGA...."You won't last a semester."
As she finished her story she said, "And he was right." Stunned, my husband and I asked if she runs into this professor at the college now. "Yes," she nodded, "And he makes a point to say to me that I don't belong in college."
There was more to her story. The semester at UGA cost her the Hope Scholarship which is why she is working. She has brought her GPA average up and will have the scholarship restored to her by Winter Semester. Good for her. We did what we could to encourage her and tell her how proud we were of her to keep dreaming and working toward her goals. But, the damage was done. It was in her eyes. She doubts her education, her goals and herself.
Our words have consequences. Once spoken, they can not be retrieved. We can either build up or tear down with our words. And you know what...it's far harder to build than it is to tear down. A few careless words can have a profound effect on someone's life...even a stranger's. But ... "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:11 Our words will produce fruit. It's up to us what kind of fruit they bear.
Keep the Faith ~ Amy