SOCIAL GOOD: The Power of Kind Words

SOCIAL GOOD: The Power of Kind Words


The author Alison Fraser pictured here with General Romeo Dallaire

I have written before on the trials and tribulations that go hand in hand with running a not for profit organization or charity. As we all know, negative words can have a huge impact on how we view ourselves and our work.

What I now realize, is that I have completely underestimated the power of kind words.

Let me explain…

Last month, I had the incredible opportunity to meet General Romeo Dallaire at a local charity event. General Dallaire is a highly respected Canadian general. He braved the Rwandan genocide of 1994, essentially remaining to help when most everyone else left Rwanda, and the world turned a blind eye to the extreme brutality taking place in the African country.  As the guest of honour at the event, he spoke of the global injustices plaguing our world and causing, what he refers to, as global rage. We see this rage daily as the stories make headlines. According to General Dallaire, two of the main sources of this rage are our failures with respect to the: (1) empowerment of women and (2) education of children. I felt so uplifted to hear that the work we at Mom2Mom Africa are doing addresses two of the most important social injustices identified by someone as worldly and experienced as General Dallaire.


I raced to introduce myself to him after he spoke, and we chatted briefly about my work in Tanzania. I was so nervous but he put me right at ease. He was so humble and kind. And, at the end, he turned to me and said;

“young lady, keep doing what you are doing. It is the work of small, grassroots organizations like yours that will change the world”.

I could have cried right there on the spot; not out of sadness but instead out of pure joy. This man, who had inspired me in so many ways, just washed away all of my insecurities and doubts, with only a few words.

As the Buddha once said..

“Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world”.

How great it is when someone, who is such an inspiration and role model, takes the time to encourage others, no matter how small their impact is on the world. Imagine what would happen if this was common practice? What if we built each other up instead of tearing each other down? What if we collaborated and focussed on common goals? Imagine what would be accomplished if we all spent more time being kind and supportive, especially those in positions of power. I am not sure if General Dallaire will ever know just how much his kind words meant to me. He gave me the strength to keep moving forward, to keep tackling and overcoming the obstacles that so many of us face. I will be forever grateful to this man, and I can only hope that others, who are in positions of influence, will follow General Dallaire’s lead. I am so proud of my fellow Canadian!

This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Alison Fraser of Mom2Mom Africa

Do you remember kind words from another that may have inspired you in your life?

Alison Fraser

Alison Fraser is the mother of three young girls ranging in age from 5 to 9 years old. She lives with her family in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Alison works as an Environmental Toxicologist with a human environment consulting company and is an active member of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). She is also the founder and director of the Canadian Not for Profit Organization, Mom2Mom Africa, which serves to fund the school fees of children and young women in rural Tanzania. Recently recognized and awarded a "Women of Waterloo Region" award, Alison is very involved in charitable events within her community including Christmas Toy and School Backpack Drives for the local foodbank.

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WASHINGTON, USA: Unintentional Acts of Inspiration

WASHINGTON, USA: Unintentional Acts of Inspiration

edWP_20140320_10_57_40_ProI was mentally sabotaging my morning run before the day even started. I laid in bed the night before thinking about how I was getting to sleep too late after eating too much junk when I knew I was coming down with a cold. I had not set myself up for success and felt guilty. I tried to tell myself if I was that beat tomorrow, I would skip it. I woke up in the middle of the night twice for other reasons but couldn’t help but think of how I tired I would feel come morning.

As I prepped the kids for school and got through breakfast with way too much coffee, I told myself how I was not well-hydrated and would be dragging. Should I even go? I kept moving but my inner voice whispered that I could just walk today if I felt overwhelmed. That voice said, “Listen to your body. If you don’t feel up to it, don’t do it.” Then a competing inner voice mocked, “But it’s your own fault for not feeling up to it, so go suffer through it.” I carried on.

When I got to the trail, I saw flashing lights up ahead. I almost stopped, thinking I should not run that way. However, I pushed on telling myself to see what the lights were about before bailing. They were just for a parked maintenance vehicle being unloaded, so I jogged on.

I was sluggish the whole time. I felt slow, heavy and bummed about not taking better care of myself. Still, I kept going. I told myself I would cut it short if it felt like too much, but then I knew the negative self-talk would grow. My knee was a little achy, and my spirits were low. Nonetheless, I kept putting one foot in front of the other and tried to lose myself in some music.

Then I spotted a young woman I often see on the trail. She is gorgeous with long hair, bright eyes, and slim body. She usually takes long walks, and we exchange waves and smiles as I go past. Today as we crossed paths, she was jogging. She stopped and told me in a panting voice that I had inspired her to stop walking and start running the trail. I congratulated her on her efforts, and we both went on our ways. All of a sudden, I was lighter. I ran without issue. I didn’t think of my knee, my weight or my tiredness. I just ran and finished up the run on a high note.

Her simple compliment made such a difference on my perspective. This beautiful woman told me I had kicked her butt into gear. I had fallen into the trap of cutting myself down mentally while assuming this other gal had it all together. How could she not?

But we all have stuff. We all have the stories we tell ourselves.

I’m an upbeat person who usually focuses on the good, but like everybody, I have days (like today) when I focus on the bad. The fact that this gal stepped out of her comfort zone both to run and to tell me, a stranger, that I had inspired her to do so snapped my head back on straight. Her gesture reminded me of a few things that I know to be true:

1)      Just getting out and taking each step counts, even if it’s not your best performance. Looking back, I placed so many obstacles in my own path for this run, but I pushed past each one. Not my best run, but I still did it. That is worth something.

2)      There is always going to be someone achieving in an area that you are not. Someone will always be smarter, thinner, happier, healthier, wealthier, etc. It’s okay to admire or be inspired by that someone, but do not judge yourself harshly by that someone. Measure yourself against yourself.

3)      Everybody has challenges and doubts going on. Everybody. We’re human. We’re not perfect.

4)      It never hurts to tell someone, even a passerby, something nice. You may just change their whole day. You may just change their whole life. Kind words are that powerful.

My trail acquaintance probably has no idea how much her words impacted my day. When I see her next time, I’ll tell her. Plus, I feel prompted to tell someone else how they inspired me. I have been meaning for some time to tell a certain person how they unknowingly helped me to make a life change for the better. I haven’t done so yet, despite ample opportunity, because I don’t want to seem too familiar to an acquaintance. However, today has taught me that hearing you changed someone for the better is never too familiar.

Have you received an unexpected compliment that changed your day? Is there someone who has unknowingly inspired you to try something new, and have you told them?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Tara B. of Washington (State), USA.

Photo credit to the author. 

Tara Bergman (USA)

Tara is a native Pennsylvanian who moved to the Seattle area in 1998 (sight unseen) with her husband to start their grand life adventure together. Despite the difficult fact that their family is a plane ride away, the couple fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and have put down roots. They have 2 super charged little boys and recently moved out of the Seattle suburbs further east into the country, trading in a Starbucks on every corner for coyotes in the backyard. Tara loves the outdoors (hiking, biking, camping). And, when her family isn't out in nature, they are hunkered down at home with friends, sharing a meal, playing games, and generally having fun. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and sharing her experiences on World Moms Network!

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