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Four Little Words Can Change a Life

It was late. And, I was still getting ready for an early morning flight to a workshop. After all, workshops are an important part of what I do.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten the most important thing in my life.

You see, I was exhausted. And, when I'm exhausted, I sometimes verbally snap or yell. I'm not proud of it but I do. I didn't used to. It's only lately, as I've been working longer and harder, that I've changed into someone I don't always like.

As I put Matthew, my four-year-old, back in bed after his third time out for water, he started to cry and his crying woke our baby, Alexandra.

And, there I stood, between their two rooms, way past the end of my rope.  So, I started to yell at Matthew for waking his sister. Then, I shut the door to his bedroom, which he shares with his older brother, Jeremy.

Still he cried. But, as I was about to open his door, I heard Jeremy whisper to him, "Shhh, he might yell again."

Four little words that shamed me. After all, my oldest son was telling my youngest son not to cry because their Dad might come in and yell.

I felt like a failure.

The next morning, ten thousand feet up, I watched Chicago slide away beneath the plane. As I did, I thought back to that moment, sadly.

He might yell again.

I'm going to use those words, carve them so deep into me that whenever I'm tempted to yell at my children, I remember what my angry words can do.

I will be a better man. I promise.

Four little words can change a life. A heart, too.