In light of the word I shared with you last Friday about speaking life to the youth, here are some examples of words you can impart with them. I’ve also included a list of some of the most unforgettable words of encouragement and instruction from my leaders that really resonated in my soul and continues to influence my life until now.

1. A Simple Compliment

When I was just beginning to preach and just starting to get the hang of it, my favorite preacher who was also my teacher during the time told me, “I want my daughter to hear your preaching on love and purity.”

A simple compliment, a congratulations or a simple thank you for someone, whether you think they need it or not, may be a bigger encouragement than you think it is. Be generous with your compliments, in the big things and the small.

2. Sincere Questions

In a profession where taking care of people is my primary responsibility, I take note of my leaders who take time to sincerely ask questions like, “How are you?” or “How’s your ministry? Lovelife? Family?” and expect to hear my raw, unfiltered and real answers.

People can tell if you sincerely want to hear their answers to your questions. Don’t ask for the sake of asking. Listen to what they have to say and pray for any insight the Lord may give you for their situation.

3. Wise Advice

When I was going through a transition phase, in between 2 places and was unsure of what to do, this advice spoke volumes: “Work as if you are going to stay here forever, plan your work as if you are leaving tomorrow.”

For students who are only starting to navigate through life, it’s easy to be confused and unsure about what to do next or how to do what needs to be done. So they seek out advice and counsel from people who they’re close with. Be ready to give them godly advice should they seek you out for it. They may not heed it immediately, but we believe God will use your words to steer them into the right direction.

4. A Motivating Vision

When I had grown up a bit as a leader and started slacking off in diligence and consistency, my leaders gave me a bigger vision of how God can use me such as, “You’re going to be a nation builder!”, “You are going to speak to the most influential people of the land.” and “You are going to be a world changer!”

In the world today, it’s so easy for students to lose sight of their purpose and of who God has called them to be. It can also be so easy to forget that God has such an incredible plan for their lives. This is why it’s important to remind them that, in Him, they have a hope and a future brighter than what they can see from where they’re standing.

5. Comforting Assurances

When I felt like I messed up and no one would want to hear the gory details of my failure, the words “What matters to you matters to me” and “I’m committed to see you grow” were reassuring to hear.

We’re all bound to make mistakes and that can be scary. We then yearn for reassuring words from people around us, to know that it’s not as bad as we think it is or that we will get better.  We need to assure students that they can rely on us to listen to them, pat them on the back and let them  know that it gets better.

6. An Encouraging Challenge

During the days I was slowly becoming a better leader, my spirit and soul had not yet caught up to my growth. My leader once told me, “Let your character match your calling.”

Let them know that they can always become better. Even as they improve in one area, they can grow in another as well. As God calls us to total submission to Him, we are also called to live every area of our life in excellence for Him.

7. A Vouch of Confidence

When I was pioneering new things for women in campus ministry,  I was intimidated by being surrounded by an all-men leadership team. The simple words, “You go girl!” brought a cheerful ray of courage.

Don’t just believe in them. Let them know that you do. Never underestimate the power of believing in someone.

Let me end with just one more story. I remember the story of one of my Personality Development and Human Relations (PDHR) students in the University of Makati. I remember writing a “very good” mark on one of his papers and putting a cute stamp on it. He suddenly returned and when I asked him why, he said, “Teacher, pakipirmahan kasi hindi maniniwala ang mommy ko na totoo.” He told me that no one has ever said to him that he was a good student nor believed he will ever be one. This same student received our Leadership Award at the graduation of the PDHR class. He said he’ll frame the certificate as it is the only recognition he has ever received in his life.

Whether it is in the lives of people or in the Bible, the power of words is clear, valuable and undeniable.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

– Proverbs 18:21