It was the day of Meet The Teacher Night at the private high school where I taught various English courses. A night I always looked forward to and prepared for in a purposeful way. Like clockwork, every year, parents would enter the room with their son or daughter in tow and begin the litany of negative presuppositions they wanted to share with me about how Jack or Jill would perform in my class. "Jack is not a very good writer, and he is a real clown" they would say. And right before my eyes, Jack would shrink with downcast eyes as their mother or father, who is meant to believe the best about them and protect them, tried to cloud my first impression of this young person. And so, before they could finish the statements of perhaps unkowingly harmful cautionary descriptions, I would look the student in the eyes, and tell them how excited I was to have them in my class. That to me, they looked like a bright and perceptive young person, and that I believed this was going to be their best year yet-smiling all the while, and giving a reassuring pat on the arm. And then that student went on my target list that I set out to affirm every chance I got, and every time-without exception, that student soared in my classroom. I wanted them to know that I was not rehearsing the negative tape in my head that thier parents tried to play for me. As a parent myself now, I try to remember that others can form their own opinions of my children in due time and that they may just discover some wonderful qualities that I often take for granted. Even today, I had to stop myself from pointing out the mischief I was seeing in my child to onlookers. Our kids are listening to us! I wouldn't think of pulling out a knife and cutting my kids in half, and yet I often pull out my tongue and do the same. Jeremiah 9:8 describes the tongue as "a deadly arrow". It can give life, or take it. Let's seek to uplift those in our sphere of influence with what we say today. Be a champion of right behavior and encouragement towards your friends and family. It's in your power to do good in this way-be purposeful about it!