A Four Letter Word

A Four Letter Word

I read a story, by an unknown author, about a mother wished to encourage her young daughter’s interest in the piano and so took her a local concert featuring an excellent pianist. In the entrance foyer the mother met an old friend and they stopped to talk.

The little girl was anxious to see inside the hall and soon wandered off, unnoticed by her mother. Then, of course the mother became concerned when she entered the hall and could see no sign of her daughter. The staff was notified and an announcement was made asking the audience to look out for the little lost girl.

When the concert was about to begin, the little girl still had not been found. In preparation for the pianist’s entrance, the curtains came open only to reveal a little girl sitting at the great piano, focused in concentration, quietly picking out the notes of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’.

The audience’s amusement turned to curiosity when the pianist entered the stage, walked up to the little girl, and said “Keep playing.”

The pianist sat down beside her, listened for a few seconds, and whispered some more words of encouragement. He then began quietly to play a bass accompaniment, and then a few bars later reached around the little girl to add more accompaniments.

At the end of the impromptu performance the audience applauded loudly as the pianist took the little girl back to her seat to be reunited with her mother. The experience was inspirational for everyone, especially one little girl.

Who can you encourage today?

 So, what’s the four letter word?


Far too many young people can’t sing because they have been told they can’t sing!

Far too many young people can’t play because they have been told they can’t play!

I have instructed some of them in years gone by, and had to get past that barrier that was placed there years before I met them.  Most of them learned, but it was more difficult for them than it ever should have been!

Don’t tell your kids they can’t – tell them they can!  Tell them they can be whatever they want to be!  Tell them they can do whatever they want to do!  Be careful not to talk negatively about them when they can overhear your conversation.

Don’t tell your students they can’t – tell them they can!  Tell them they can be whatever they want to be!  Tell them they can do whatever they want to do!

Don’t tell yourself you can’t – tell yourself you can!  YOU can be whatever you want to be!  YOU can do whatever you want to do!

I have seen my own kids do some amazing things.  If you were to ask them, “Have you ever done that before?”  The answer would be, “NO, but here goes.”   I tried my best, when they were young, to build into them the confidence that they are capable of doing anything that they desire to do!

Where can you make a difference?

 I fought a mental battle myself recently.  My surgeon told me that she had to disturb a nerve in my neck to get to, and remove the cancer in that area.  She told me that I probably would not be able to regain total use of one shoulder.

My physical therapist worked with me for weeks and I have gained a lot of the lost motion back, but it was made much more difficult because that seed of doubt had been placed in my mind by a well-meaning surgeon months ago.  More than once, I told the therapist, “I can’t!  My surgeon said that I wouldn’t be able to do that.”

But I did.

Those with whom you work may face challenges with things that you would like for them to do.  View those situations exactly that way.  They are challenges.  It’s not that they can’t – they haven’t done it before!  Help them.  Encourage them.  Don’t give up on them – they CAN do it with your help.

‘Can’t’ is a four letter word that is spoken much too often!

Where can you provide feedback to someone who may need to hear that they are doing a good job?

Terry Gunn

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