Echoes Generated by Kind Words
19th Century poet and artist, Dante Rossetti, penned the poem “A Superscription,” in which he wrote: “Look in my face; My name is Might-Have-Been; I am also called No-More, Too-Late, Farewell.” He should have learned from the irony of his own poetry. The story goes that an elderly stranger once asked Rossetti to critique some sketches he had drawn. The old fellow wanted to know if he had potential as an artist. Rossetti’s answer was harsh, but true, “Your sketches show no potential or talent.” The old guy thanked him for his honesty, and asked if he would critique another set of sketches he had. These had been done by a young art student. Rossetti looked at the second set of sketches and was overwhelmed by the talent they revealed. Rossetti spoke encouragement, “Oh, these are wonderful. This young student shows great potential; he will be a great artist one day, if he continues to practice.” Hearing this, the old man began to weep. Rossetti asked him, “Who is this young artist? Is he Your son?” “No,” he replied. “They are my sketches from 40 years ago. I wish someone had given me that encouragement back then. I gave up on my art long ago out of discouragement.”
Someone once said, “Kind words can be short and simple to speak, but their echoes are endless.” Sometimes it may be enough to just say, “Your work is really good!” I can only imagine the dreams that were never realized because of a lack of encouragement to continue.
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