Caravan Sonnet: From Hope Valley Devotionals (Week 24): The Power of Positive Gossip

8/2/17

From Hope Valley Devotionals (Week 24): The Power of Positive Gossip

Since I first watched the fifth episode of Season 2 of When Calls the Heart, I have been challenged about the power that gossip has to change and affect people. As we ponder these words by Abigail, I am challenged to consider a deeper truth in this situation- the power of positive gossip.

The dictionary defines gossip as: "Casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details...". In many cases, including the scene that is shown in this season two episode of When Calls the Heart, gossip is depicted as a bad thing. And for the most part it is. I definitely agree. But what if there was another side to gossip- a gossip that speaks positively about someone and shares the best about them even when they are not around? I believe that in this there is a great power that comes that can change our world. 

Many years ago, during my first year of teaching, I saw this beautiful concept in action. Before I had started teaching very well meaning friends who were "teacher experts" warned me about the teacher workroom gossip. They said to avoid the gossip about students and to form my own opinions based on my own interactions. It was great advice but what I didn't plan for was my life-changing interactions with Lauren. Lauren was a beautiful teacher who had been teaching for a couple of decades before I arrived at the school. She had a great reputation with the students and teachers alike and she was brilliant in the way that she changed the landscape of the teacher workroom atmosphere long before I had arrived. See in that school "gossip" held a completely different meaning. Gossip wasn't bad... it was the delightful witnessing of the best of human character that could be found. 

Every single day that I saw and spoke with Lauren she had at least one or two detailed stories about specific students in her classes. The stories were thought out, lovely, and told intricate details and sentiments about each student in the best light. From Lauren I heard the best about these humans. 

Lauren shared not only how a student was kind, but what action the student did that made them so kind. Lauren shared not only that a student was smart, but the question that they asked that showed the depth of their intellect. Where others saw a natural conversation in the classroom, Lauren saw the potential of young minds being molded to change the world. Where some teachers grew frustrated with apathy, Lauren saw an opportunity to inspire. Where some saw a student "doing what they were supposed to do", Lauren saw obedience at a basic level that held the foundation of character. 

As Lauren shared I grew to deeply respect the students she talked about and as they entered my classroom I found myself looking for the traits that she had witnessed. Lauren changed the scope of the foundation of my first school. She changed the culture. She changed the layout, and most of all she changed me. 

Lauren showed me that in looking intentionally for the best in people I was bound to find it. Her joy was sharing the good that she saw in every single person she interacted with. She never shared the issues (although I am sure there were some), but instead she found specific things that were positive about every single person she encountered. In doing so I was inspired to look for the good in every person I crossed paths with that year. 

As I spent more and more time with Lauren I learned that her "positive gossip" went well beyond the classroom. She spoke with sincere beauty about her relationships with family members, her high respect for her husband, and her incredible love for her children. People were not perfect, but Lauren had the maturity to know that words can change things. A bad word spoken about someone can taint an entire culture, but a positive word can have a ripple effect, changing the landscape that we live in. 

Since that time with Lauren more than a decade ago, I have learned the power of "positive gossip" in beautiful ways. I have seen the way that our words can shape a situation, shape a community, and shape the culture that we surround ourselves in. As I put into practice Lauren's gift for talking about the best about people I watch amazed at how it changes me to look for the best in others and how it challenges me to speak in a way that honors another person. 

And when I do this - when I live courageously in figuring out the best about another person to speak only the good about them- I see the power that positive gossip has... the power to change the world. 

"Let your conversation be gracious and attractive..."
-Colossians 4:6-

Did y'all see that Edify Films has created a When Calls the Heart App? It was just released this past week and you can find it HERE

Looking for past From Hope Valley Devotionals? You can click HERE to find a complete listing of all of the devotionals! 

*Please note that the quotes used in these weekly devotionals are the sole intellectual property of Hallmark Channel, WCTH, & Crown Media, LLC. These on-line posts are in no way supported, endorsed or affiliated with WCTH, Hallmark Channel, or Crown Media. They are simply encouragement inspired by Janette Oke and this precious show.*

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