by Caron Loveless
The New England poetess, Emily Dickinson, once wrote: "A word is dead when it is said, some say; I say it only begins to live that day." Charon Loveless has given us a series of thumbnail sketches of lives that have been changed by the words of others. Sometimes the speaker was consciously trying to effect change in someone else's life. In other instances the speaker had no idea how great his or her influence was going to be. The common thread that runs through the mini-biographies is that words are powerful vehicles for change. One never knows whether his words are working internal changes in others.
For instance: Coach Pullman, a teacher in Howard High School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, saw a raw, undisciplined youth before him. But instead of looking at the rough exterior, Coach Pullman saw the potential for a great football player. Unknown to the youth, the coach got permission from the boy's mother to give him "special" treatment. The coach sharply criticized the boy's play. He embarrassed him in front of his peers. He drove the youth to the point of tears. Years later NFL great Reggie White returned to Chattanooga to thank his coach for helping him realize his potential.
You will also find in this book how words shaped the lives of Fred Rogers, Charles Colson, Bob Pierce, Robert Shuller, D. James Kennedy, Mitsuo Fuchida, J. C. Penny, and others. Perhaps you and I will recall the words from Proverbs: "Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances" (25:11).