We were given a writing prompt today in English to practice for standardized testing. Yah, you know the ones I’m talking about. “You will be given 50 minutes to complete this prompt. When you reach the ‘STOP’ icon, do not go on. When 50 minutes are up, put down your pencil. Do not turn back to work on other tests.” Do not pass go, do not collect $200? We get the point. Anyways, for some reason we have to practice taking these tests, because taking them for real isn’t sufficiently torturous.
The writing prompt contained a quote by Mother Teresa about the continuous echoes of kind words. It then went on to explain the quote – the quote that was pretty much self explanatory – and then asked us to write about a time that we have spoken kind words that affected someone else or when someone else’s kind words have affected us. Upon fully reading the prompt, Lauren turns to me and says, “Katherine, I think you should choose the second one.”
Wow. Thanks, Lauren.
After I thought about it, though, I really did end up choosing the second one. I could not think of a single time when my own kind words had a positive influence on someone else. In fact, I could only think of instances where my impluses led me to insult people. Really? Ouch. 25 out of my 50 minutes were spent trying to formulate an instance – in truth or in fiction – in which kind words were spoken. Seriously? And I still ended up writing about a fictional event.
How is it that in all 16 of my years I haven’t been graced by kind words that have echoed forever? How is it that I’ve never said anything nice to anyone that was worth writing about? How is it that we live in a world where my English class of 30 (give or take) people can’t come up with kind words to write about? I hope that you have spoken kind words to someone, and I hope that someone else’s kind words have had a positive influence in your life. As for me, it’s time to stop speaking on impulse and start trying to have a positive effect on the world.